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The Journey to the Brothers Farm - Short Story Analysis Essay

5 pages
1135 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
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Finding your fortune and real values in life is never easy, and a person has to search and show dedication. The short story The Journey to the Brothers Farm by Pippa Gough is a representation of peoples values, destiny, and compliance with the law. The story represents the apartheid days in South Africa. As we know, the apartheid period lasted for approximately fifty years. Racial marginalization was rampant during the period. People got divided and segregated because of their color with the blacks facing the blunt side of the discrimination. Social classes and values too got divided with the blacks being the low-income earners and whites taking the upper hand as they were the colonizers. In the short story, the main character Annelie and her friend Thabo feel the same with their bodies and color. Resultantly, the story tells about the dilemma they face. Despite the events in this short tale happening a long time ago, the issue of social classes and value about color still emerges continuously as a meaningful discussion today.

The author also uses a lot of contrast in the short story. The different settings show the distinction between criminality and behaving according to the societal demands. Bending to rules set by the society on the way a person should live his or she is ordinary. The contrast shows the old fashioned way that people interpret life. The story also focuses on the distinction between skin colors mainly black skinned people and white skinned people. Most white people in the story including Hendrik express stereotypical views regarding the blacks. They get portrayed as inferior and only meant to work under the whites. Similarly, there is the contrast between the two forms of text. On the one hand, there is the main narrative narrated by Annelie and the use of italics when showing the statement made by Annelie to the police.

The author debates about how people get subjected to given social conditions. The desire to compare oneself with others and the society ends up affecting the growth and development of a human. Just like the few concepts of the Greek gods say, a persons destiny is set in such a way that they can do nothing about it. The theme gets showcased when Annelie is conversing Miss Kotzee as she read her a story. This part occurred when she was seven years old. The story her aunt read was a beautiful girl called Dulcina. She gets described as a beautiful girl with fair white skin and hair like silk, and she marries a prince. During the class period, Miss Kotzee also mentions that Dulcinas skin was her fortune. Annelie ends up puzzled primarily about the mystery behind skin, bones, chances and faces. All she knows about is the color of different people, but she does not understand their relationship to the above aspects. When she compares herself with another girl whose complexion matches that of Dulcina, Miss Kotzee tells her that her destiny and fortune is not marrying a prince. As for Dulcina, the stars decided her fate the moment she was born.

The author tells the story in a first-person perspective in both contrasted settings. The main character Annelie Louw informs the readers about her childhood experiences and her thoughts during the time. For example, on page three, she talks about the path she chooses in her effort to go around Hendriks and why she considered it extensive than most. Her tone shows that she harbors personal feelings for the events surrounding him. For example, there are many occasion when revelers in the Hotel bar talk about the Soweto riots. Most of those talks took place on Friday when Hendriks is in town. He mostly comments about how blacks should be treated like animals so that they can know who the boss is in such settings. That indicates the amount of discrimination due to color and the division between the blacks and whites. As a result, many people always avoided him and so does Annelie.

The author also contrasts the Anellie childhood and her life when she grew up. As she narrates about her memories in the farm where she grew up, she tells of how the change made her lose her friends especially Thabo. At this point, the author launches Thabo as a character in the story and continues to show how close he is to Annelie. She tells of how inseparable they were but still ended up apart when her father rebuked the friendship. Her father too shows racist and discriminatory tendencies when he orders her to mix with her type and not the blacks. That is the reason she ended up spending time and hanging out Veldplatt with Hendriks and his brothers. The two never spoke from that time, and when they occasionally met around the farm and town, he would address her as madam. Despite that, Thabo chooses to go to her when things get tough on the farm. That indicates that she is the only nod-discriminating and understanding person around. From the story, we learn of all the bad things that have befallen Annelie during her time on the farm, the worst being rape. Many cases of rape cause depression and trauma and so is the case with the narrator. We see that in the part where she talks about her feelings towards Hendrik who raped her in front of his brothers.

Despite the story being right, it has been subject to many critics, and it is the main character who tells the whole story. She tries to achieve justice, but the fact that the author only employs one narrator makes the reader just access one subjective side of the entire story. The author uses vivid description and imagery to explain the issue under police investigation. He talks about how Hendriks came from a drinking spree and in the process ended up killing his two brothers Isaac and Jacob. At the same time, he tries to Harm Thabos family, but Thabo stops him and goes to Annelie for help.

It is clear that the narrator tells her story in such a way that she seeks to convince and justify her actions to the reader. Nevertheless, we know that Hendriks had raped her, and when she spits on him and wraps his fingers around the gun, that is easily interpretable as revenge. Additionally, Annelie represents the life of a normal white girl in South Africa. The only problem is her choice of friends. Resultantly, the novel revolves around social class and dominating racial segregation. It leaves the reader wondering whether it is appropriate to question everything or just be satisfied with life. In the end, people should learn to live with each other as brothers and sisters instead of getting divided by their color and social class.

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