23 Aralık 2009

July's People

Reading July’s People was like entering a new world of oppression. This novel did have a great impact on me. Each sentence which I read made me think differently. In fact sometimes I could not help thinking how I would behave if I were in the same situation. I wondered several times if I would be able to handle the fact that I could no longer live the way I had become accustomed to. The only way of life I had known. This is what happens to Maureen. This sudden turn in her life and the psychological consequences really affected me. The way Gordimer uses flashbacks in the novel emphasise this. Gordimer juxtaposes Maureen’s old life and new life, which shows her troubles adjusting to no longer being a care free mistress.

''That was how people lived, here, rearranging their meagre resources around the bases of nature, letting the walls of mud sink back to mud and then using that mud for new walls, in another clearing, among other convenient rocks……she sat outside the women's hut most of the day, on the ground, making brooms out of some special grasses the women collected''.

In my view, this book shows the vulnerability of all human beings, no matter how civilised they consider themselves. The white population, once the glorious masters of their territory, suddenly came face to face with their sins. It was like the fall of each of their empires.

When I started to read July’s People the concept of Apartheid became less of a myth. I no longer thought of Apartheid as something obscure. This book showed me what it did to the people, the victims as well as the oppressors. Both had to surrender a part of their spirits.

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