White People and Black Girl

Topics: White people, Race and Ethnicity, African American Pages: 5 (1737 words) Published: July 4, 2013
Race/Ethnicity
Country Lovers and What it’s Like Being a Black Girl
Intro to Literature
Eng 125
Tina M. Chatmon
Ins. Shawn Mangerino

Race/Ethnicity
Country Lovers and What it’s Like Being a Black Girl
Since African American literature started back in the 18th century, the majority of these writings mainly focused on racism, ethnicity, and the struggle of African-American people. Nadine Gordimer and Patricia Smith are but two contributors to this area of literature. In my paper I will compare and contrast the short story by Nadine Gordimer, “Country Lovers”, and the poem, “What It’s Like Being a Black Girl”, written by Patricia Smith. In both pieces of literature, the focus is put on the racial background and ethnicities, considering that the main characters or protagonists are black women, dealing with some degree of discrimination because of the color of their skin. It is common knowledge that racism has been a major issue which has tainted society, and the African-American people, particularly females have been dealing with the effects of racism, and have experienced the effects of discrimination and racism. (Clugston, 2010). In the short story “Country Lovers”, a forbidden love between a black girl named Thebedi and a white male named Paulus, is depicted. In the story, two main characters are brought together since early childhood, spending much of the childhood days with each other. As they grow up, they became even closer, eventually falling in love. They soon realize that the racial politics of the time would not allow them to maintain their relationship simply because, Paulus, being the son of a white farm owner and Thebedi, the daughter of a black farm workers, would be unable to show or share their love publicly. I found that there were many dramatic effect throughout this entire story. For example, when we read about the part were Paulus is going way to school, “This usefully coincides with the age of twelve or thirteen; so that by the time early adolescence is reached, the black children are making along with the bodily changes common to all, an easy transition to adult forms of address, beginning to call the old playmates missus and baasie little master.” (Clugston 2010). When Paulus watches Thebedi wading in the water, is the part of the story where I interpreted the loss of innocence and the description of a forbidden love. “The schoolgirls he went swimming with at dams and pools I may bring farms were bikinis but the site of their dazzling bellies and thighs in the sunlight had never made him feel what he felt now when the girl came up to the bank and sat beside him, two drops of water beading offer dark legs the only points of light in the earth -smelling deep shade. They were not afraid of one another, they had known one another always; he did with her what he had done that time in the store room at the wedding, and this time it was so lovely, so lovely, he was surprised… And she was surprised by it too - he could see her dark face that was part of the shade, with her big dark eyes, shiny and soft water, watching him attentively: as she had when they used a huddle over their teams of mud oxen, as she had when he told her about attention weekends at school.“(Clugston, 2010). It is towards the end of the short story where you realize the racism. It begins when Paulus arrived back home from college over the holidays, and finds out that Thebedi had given birth to a child. When he decides to go and see Thebedi and the child, he said, “You haven’t been near the house with it?” (Clugston, 2010). His reaction alone reiterated the fact that such a thing would not be tolerated in his community. As the story continues, Paulus returned to the head later on: it states, “She thought she heard small grunts from the hut, the kind of insufficient grunt that indicates a full stomach, a deep sleep. After a time, long or short she did not know, he came out and walked away with...

References: Clugston, R.W. (2010), “Country Lovers, Nadine Gordimer. In Journey into Literature (ch. 3): retrieved from http://content.ashford.edu/books/AUENG125.10.2/section/h3.2
Clugston, R.W. (2010), Poems for Reflection. In Journey into Literature (ch. 12.2): retrieved from http://content.ashford.edu/books/AUENG125.10.2/section/12.2
Fluehr-Lobban, C. (2010). Race and Racism: An Introduction, Rowman Altamira: pp. 111-116
Dovidio, J.F., & Gaertner, S.L. (1996). Affirmative action, unintentional racial Biases and inter group relations. Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 52, pp 51-75
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