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A Look at Country Lovers

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A Look at Country Lovers
ENG 125 Introduction to Literature
June 17, 2012

A Look at Country Lovers

I chose to talk about the short story “County Lovers”, by Nadine Gordimer. This story caught my attention because of the fact that is a story about inter-racial love. I come from a multi-racial family. Reading this story gave me a different view on how difficult society can be when it comes to inter-racial love. The analytical approach that I chose for this story is formalist approach. I chose this approach because the setting was during a time that mixing races were unthinkable. This approach focuses on the form and development of the literary work itself ( p.414 ).
This story is about two childhood friend from different races who grow to love each other yet they cannot be together because of their race. From the beginning of the story, the author lets us know that this will be a story of inter-racial relationships. Paulus Eyendyck is white and grew up on the farm along with black children. Thebedi who is black caught Paulus attention and they became friends. As they grew older the two form an attraction for each other and began to sneak around the farm to spend time with each other.
As time grew on Paulus went away to school, Thebedi became pregnant but did not tell Paulus about this and was arranged to be married to Njabulo. On a visit back home Paulus found out about the baby that Thebedi had and when to her right away. When he saw the baby he knew that it was his child. He wanted Thebedi to take the baby away or give it up. The child mysteriously dies the next day. There is a trial, but Paulus is not judged guilty because of lack of proof.

This story gives me a different perspective of inter-racial relationship. My grandfather is black and my grandmother is white. Although they felt the pressure of being together because of their race they still made their relationship work. Society also plays a big part in this in the story, “The farm children play together when they are small, but once the white children go away to school they soon don’t play together anymore, even in the holidays.” It was ok for black and white children to be friends until a certain age. Then Paulus and Thebedi had to sneak around to see each other and when Paulus had a chance he would make things to give to Thebedi and give them to her secretly.
You also see pressure from society when Paulus find out that Thebedi has a child and it is his. That was not approved of in that time. His first thought was to get rid of this child. Paulus says, “I’ll see what I will do. I don’t know.” And then he said: “I feel like killing myself.” Thebedi respond with tears in her eyes yet with understanding. They both love each other but there love and their child were to be found out this would lead to many problems for both of them. Unfortunely, the child dies mysteriously yet I believe Paulus and Thebedi silently agreed that it had to be done.
In today’s world it is more acceptable for inter-racial couples. People are becoming less opposed to interracial dating and marriage than in previous decades ( McCLAIN). So much would have been different if it Paulus and Thebedi love was accepted. There would have been and happy couple with a beautiful family. It’s sad that there love had to end because of societies pressures.

Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from
McCLAIN, C. (2011). Family Stories: Black/White Marriage During the 1960s. Western Journal Of Black Studies, 35(1), 9-21.

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