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John Fortune

In: Novels

Submitted By Soeren
Words 824
Pages 4
John Fortune, Essay

The story “John Fortune” deals with our perception of other people, and the necessity of having something to live for.
Lindiwe is grateful for her opportunity to leave Johannesburg, and live in London.
But her happiness is clouded by her own feeling of guilt, to the ones she has left behind.
When she sees/discovers John Fortune at first, she feels kinda worried, and she starts to build up an image in her head, an image of him being an untidy old man. As this quote confirms:
“That is it, a rift in the lute, that is the feeling I get every time I see him. Uneasy, that’s what I am, uneasy.” This quote describes how Lindiwe feels, when she sees him, as explained above.
It is obvious that John Fortune is interested in the Centre, and how they manage to keep up the business, despite the fact that they are close to the bottom of the purse. One could believe that the reason for him wanting to know all this information, is because he wants to start a Centre similar to the one Ahmad runs.
This is very likely, primarily because of the fact that he has dedicated his life to help people, and because of the Independence, he now feels unnecessary. As this quote says:
“He had thought he could do missionary work in his own country, but they didn’t want people like him anymore, they had the police instead.”
This excerpt explains that John Fortune still wants to work with poor people and do relief work, but is prevented from doing so.
When a human is denied to do what he or she really wants, it ruins their mental strength. An example of this is on page 1, line 29 to 30, where Lindiwe approaches John Fortune agitatedly. Instead of dealing with her in a calm way, he apologizes, and flees immediately.
This clearly shows his mental state of mind. It also becomes clear, that John Fortune needs to feel the appreciation of his work again, and when Ahmad shows his content of seeing him, and even remembering him, he gets very glad and surprised.
Reverend John Fortune can’t understand the development that has been going on in the past years. He always thought someone in the entire world would need his help, but instead his noble offer is rejected. You can see his sadness clearly on page 3, lines 107-108, where we can read that he is crying.

When Lindiwe finds out who John Fortune really is, she feels extremely stupid and embarrassed. She is ashamed that she only judged him on his clothes and voice, and not on what really counts, the inside. She used all her energy on judging him, and completely blocked out the possibility of him being someone she could help. I believe that is a contributing factor to why she decides to go back to Africa. However the main reason is found in the last sentence John Fortune states:
“What could be worse […] unless it is a mission without a missionary”.

He has made such a big impact on her. She looks at this man, who has dedicated his life to humanitarian aid, and who has not received any acknowledgement of his deeds, and still he looks back with happiness and satisfaction in his eyes. That’s where, she realizes that she has become a different person than she once was. Now it is time for her to go back to Africa, and be that missionary.
One of the main themes in this story is perception. At first Lindiwe is very judgemental towards
John Fortune, even though she has not really gotten a chance to get to know him. That is a mistake many people do, and unfortunately, it can lead to racism and other disputes among people, even though it probably could have been avoided with a handshake.
Another theme is the will to help others, a thing people rarely think of, maybe they donate a little cash to ‘Røde Kors, but to do what John Fortune does, that takes a lot.

We should also always judge people on their insides, and never on their looks. This is something Lindiwe finds out in a hard way. Hopefully there will always be people like John
Fortune, which are willing to give up a luxurious life, to help people who are less fortunate. Translation:
In Denmark, family has become a debating society, where the children often have the last word.
Danish family-counsellor and author Jesper Juul, believes that even fairly young children today, are good negotiators. They argue so convincingly that parents and teachers can have difficulties keeping up to them. Children automatically demand an explanation on everything, and participate in decisions from choice of dinner, to choice of car. Other experts remind us that it is the parents who have taught the children to make demands.

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