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Comrades

One Simple Idea composed by Hans Zimmer

Plot Development

Mrs. Hattie Telford finishes attending a presentation on Peoples education and is faced by a group of young blacks who ask her for a ride to town.
Mrs. Hattie Telford initially agrees to give them a ride to town, but when the young blacks mention that they were hungry, she decides to take them to her house. On the way, she indulges in a short conversation with the young men and realises that they came from Harrismith (in South Africa), which was two hundred kilometers from the Conference venue.

The woman brings the young men in to her house and treats them like friends and serves them food.
The woman realises that the young men havent completed their education and dream of fulfilling their education soon.

Realisation creeps up against the woman and finally she realises that the young blacks are completely harmless.

Character Development

Hattie Telford: Develops throughout the story; she is a round character. She is an open minded character. She initially has a feeling of fear, but that develops into concern at the end of the story.
Young Black Men: They are flat characters. They are mature in their mindset despite a lack of proper education.

Theme

Based on Racial Segregation: The story is based on the theme of racial segregation during the Apartheid movement in South Africa as all of Nadine Gordimers stories (racial segregation)
Sub-Theme is insecurity and fear among both the blacks and the whites. The blacks and the whites have a mutual feeling of insecurity and fear for each other.

Structure
Exposition:

Very slow paced story Tense atmosphere throughout the whole story. But doesnt built up to any violence of visible conflict among the blacks and whites. 3rd Person narrative used: Demystifies the emotions felt by each sect (blacks and the whites). Would be appropriate to use 1st Person here as the changing perception the white woman could have given us more depth in the emotions felt by the character.

Setting:

South Africa; Proof: Harrismith, South Africa.

Denouement:

Womans realisation that the blacks dont intentionally mean any harm.

Character Development

Characters: Mrs. Hattie Telford, Dumile, Shadrock, other characters who arent given names.
In general, Nadine Gordimer chooses not to give a great deal of depth to any of the characters. This is because she wants the impact to be felt while highlighting a very broad idea (Racism) so that the effect could be felt by anyone who reads the story. Mrs. Hattie Telford: Developed as a caring character and is a stereotype to the white characteristics in that she shows sympathy towards the blacks and understands their plight. She also has a feeling of fear (towards the blacks) which is suppressed by her caring nature towards the blacks.

Overview of the Analysis (Important points)


Title: The title ''Comrades'' is very ironic as the friendship between those two races, whites and blacks, was unheard of during the Apartheid system. Nevertheless, in this story Nadine Gordimer portrays the friendship, though it is uneasy and full of tension at first, between the white liberal woman and a group of Black youngsters.

Page 91
Alarm Device: Show the level of security and precautions taken by the whites and the intensity of their relationship. Notice that the second sentence is only one word. Contributes to the effect of racial discrimination in South Africa.

Civilised: Strong diction; again adds to the effect of one community being superior to the other, although the communities arent specified.
Conference on Peoples Education: Gives a feeling of progress in the society; could be foreshadowing.

--Comrade, are you going to town?-- : Shows that the blacks are willing to be friendly and also shows that the conditions are improving in the society.

Page 92
First few sentences reveal the womans character. They came from Harrismith, Phoneng Location: This explicitly tells us the location, i.e. South Africa. Stragglers: Strong diction; Causes us to create an image of someone who lags behind. Blacks were portrayed as backward. At the back no one was breathing: Shows us the extent of tension among the young blacks. Gordimer also uses a simile like a suction of air in a compressing silence to show us the extent of tension.

Umkhonto weSizwe: Nadine Gordimer brings in a political intitution to strengthen her stand on racism.

Contrasts

The young blacks can be compared to Nittilai in The Fire and the Rain as both lack formal education, but their wisdom stands out as a laudable trait.
The story doesnt use violence to convey a message unlike Once Upon a Time where violence is one of the main effects used to enhance the conveyance of the message of the story.