100%(1)1 out of 1 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 10 - 13 out of 58 pages.
amazement as the money she gives July is carried around by the villagers. It seems worthless paper to her, but they have seen how it transforms into pink teacups and bicycles and treasure it.Without work or even recreation, Maureen hoards the one book she had brought. For a while, she does not read it, afraid to begin it because once it finishes she will have nothing to look forward to. But she does. She begins reading, and finds that the pleasure is lost because pretending to be somewhere else has lost all of its appeal: "She was in another time, place, consciousness; it pressed in upon her and filled her as someone's breath fills a balloon's shape." There's nothing to pretend when everything is so foreign, so unimaginable.Maureen begins to explore her surroundings, venturing into the dark huts searching for decorations. She finds a brass plaque nailed to the wall dedicated to "boss boy." This is a term used by the white boss for the African
he relies upon the most, and for the first time Maureen considers the derogatory connotations of that name. She remembers walking with the African servant, Lydia, who was her friend and nanny, chewing gum together and holding hands. Lydia and Maureen joked and teased each other, and Lydia carried Maureen's school case on her head. A photographer captured that moment for Lifemagazine, and when Maureen saw it as an adult she suddenly realized how odd it was that Lydia had always taken Maureen's case.AnalysisWhen Maureen meets July's wife, she realizes that her assumptions about lifeare privileged and narrow. For fifteen years she has sent presents to another woman, presents she assumed would be useful to any woman anywhere. Upon meeting July's wife, she realizes that those presents would be not only useless, but indicative only of Maureen's status in the world. July's wife's busywork, childcare, and subsistence living mark a new way of thought for Maureen. Maureen has to realize her own displacement in this new land, where she has not only no work, but also no idea of what life is like. The dark hut where July's wife lives and raises her children seems a territory so distant from the suburban house that Maureen must struggle to put both homes into the same category.When Gordimer gives July's wife a voice, this allows the reader to understand that not only the Smales have been displaced. By making room for the white refugees, July has given up his mother's hut, a bed, a stove, and peace in his family. July's wife makes her complaints known and also provides a voice for the fear that the blacks had of the whites. Once she believes July's account of events, July's wife becomes afraid of reprisal. She doesn't see the movement as leading to freedom or improvement because the idea of toppling the white
government seems so impossible. Unlike July, who has seen the havoc wreaked in the cities, July's wife has been insulated. The apartheid system is just part of life for her, and nothing in her life has changed, other than losing some of her possessions. July's wife has no framework upon which to hang the defeat of the white government.