Nadine Gordimer's July's People

Topics: White people, Black people, South Africa Pages: 18 (6518 words) Published: April 25, 2013
Pertanika J. Soc. Sci. & Hum. 20 (1): 23 - 32 (2012)

ISSN: 0128-7702 © Universiti Putra Malaysia Press

Interregnum in Colonial Space: Subversion of Power and Dispossession of Metropolitan Home Materials in Gordimer’s July’s People Ali Khoshnood Department of English Language and Translation, Islamic Azad University, Bandar Abbas branch, University boulevard, Nakhle Nakhoda intersection, Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan Province, Iran E-mail: thisali42@yahoo.com ABSTRACT Nadine Gordimer’s recurrent theme has been raising awareness about the unjust and discriminatory policy of Apartheid in South Africa. In one of her later novels, July’s People, she depicts the impact of an impromptu journey of a white family into their black servant’s hinterland. Apartheid atrocities and discriminations of the white government of South Africa cause black insurgency and the displacement of the Smales family. This dislocation into the primitive settlement of July disrupts the former exercise of power hierarchy between the Smales family members and July. The Smales family is also deprived of familiar home equipment and city facilities. Although July shelters them from city riots, he takes advantage of the Smales’s predicament and appropriates new power in the new environment. The burden of this study was to examine July’s treatment of the Smales family when they are emasculated from their former privileges. This study also attempted to show how this sojourn dispossesses all major characters from their city life styles and powers. Both linguistic and physical subversions of power relations cause a change in the conjugal relationships of the Smales family and confuse July with an in-between identity and attitude towards his master’s family and his village community. This study examined the new relationships and life style changes in the light of post-colonial theoretical assumption. Keywords: Colonial Zone, dispossession, power

INTRODUCTION Nadine Gordimer was born on 20 November 1923 in Springs, South Africa. She is one of the most prolific South African writers. The Conservationist (1974), Burger’s Daughter (1979), July’s People (1981), The Pickup (2001), and Get A Life (2005) are some of her well-known works. Gordimer published July’s People in 1981, thirteen years before the official abolishment of the Apartheid. She could aptly anticipate the inevitable collapse of the white government in South Africa. July’s People,

after its publication, was banned in South Africa, owing to its wide exposure of racial segregations imposed by the white minority government of South Africa during the Apartheid. Like compatriots Alan Paton and J. M. Coetzee, Gordimer has dramatised the history of her country in her fiction to expose more awareness and truth of the unfair political situation of her homeland to the world. This study is based on the post-colonial theoretical approach to investigate how the black revolution dispossesses the white family of their power and urban home facility

Ali Khoshnood

and how it reversely empowers their servant, July, to appropriate some portions of their power and modern belongings. A strong reason for the significance of place in the colonised societies “lies in the disruption caused by ‘modernity’ itself in the links between time, space and place in European societies” (Ashcroft et al., 2001, p. 178). This study shows that not only the concepts of time measurement and urban space facility are significant, but also other modern equipment of a Johannesburg home that has affected Bam’s family when they are reluctantly dislocated. I borrow Homi K. Bhabha’s concept of “unhomeliness” reflected in his The Location of Culture (1994) to explore the impact of black resistance and revolution on the white family. This concept is not attributed to the black people and their exiled setting. On the other hand, it is viewed that the white family’s journey is not an exile but a flight under duress caused by black riots and fear of...

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Madden, M. (2007). Planting the seeds of a non-racial society: white women as agents of change in ‘july’s people’, ‘disgrace’, and ‘a blade of grass’. (Published Doctoral Dissertation), Retrieved from ProQuest. Halifax: Dalhousie University. Newman, J. (1988). Nadine Gordimer. London: Routledge. Rich, P. (1984). Apartheid and the decline of the civilization idea: an essay on Nadine Gordimer’s “July’s people” and J. M. Coetzee’s “waiting for the barbarians”. Research in African Literatures, 15(3) (Autumn), 365-393. Retrieved on August 4, 2010 from Indiana University Press Stable http://www.jstor.org/stable/3819663 Roberts, S. (1993). Sites of paranoia and taboo: Lessing’s ‘the grass is singing’ and Gordimer’s July’s people. Research in African Literatures, 24(3), (Autumn), 73-85, Indiana UP. Retrieved September 18, 2008 from http://www.jstor.org/ stable/3820114 Treiber, J. (1983). The construction of identity and representation of gender in four african novels. (Published Doctoral Dissertation), Retrieved from ProQuest. California: University of California. Williamson, N. B. (1999). Reinscribing genres and representing South African realities in Nadine Gordimer’s later novels (1919-1994). (Published Doctoral Dissertation), Retrieved from ProQuest. Boston: Boston University.
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Pertanika J. Soc. Sci. & Hum. Vol. 20 (1) 2012
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