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Written by Anastasia Melnyk
Pros and cons of the town
Mary met her future husband Dick in the cinema. He was a farmer and come to the town rarely. He hated the town all those “ugly scattered suburbs that looked as if they had come out of housing catalogues; ugly little houses stuck anyhow over the veld”. They had no relationship with the hard brown African soil and the arching blue sky, and cozy atmosphere of the farm life. But Mary liked the town, felt safe there, there was her job, and all her friends. She associated the country with her childhood, because of those “little dorps she had lived in, and the way they were all surrounded by miles and miles of nothingness – miles and miles of veld”. This image shows the reader how different Mary an Dick are, their ways of life, purposes and ambitions will never be the same, so there is no happy future for them together.
Mary was a racist, and couldn’t state the area's natives. When Dick was sick and she had to go to the farm and watch them working, she constantly thought of how strong her hate is. She hated their “black half-naked bodies, their sullenness, the way they spoke to her and look at her… and she hated more than anything, with a violent physical repulsion, the heavy smell that came from them, a hot, sour animal smell’. This image shows her attitude towards these innocent people, her real face, the face of a woman full of hatred.
Before her marriage, Mary lived in the Girls club. Although she earned enough money to rent an accommodation of her own, she stayed there not because it was cheaper, she liked to live there – she got all that she needed – a good company: “In the Club she was a person of some importance, out of the usual run.” She was much older than the others. Everybody liked her and shared their problems with her. She seemed immune to all the troubles in the world, she said herself that she will never be drawn in it. She was very happy in the Club. This image gives as the image of another Mary – a young girl, who loved her life, had a lot of friends and was happy. This image contrasts with her image of the racist woman she turned into.
The image of nature was depicted in the story, when Mary was running away from her murderer: “The trees advanced in a rush, like beasts, and the thunder was the noise of their coming.”, “the lightning that ran and danced, illuminating stormy ranges of cloud”. This imagery vividly expresses the foreshadowing of something terrible and cruel, that is going to happen in the following moment, it keeps the reader in suspense, expresses the moral state of Mary – fatality, hopelessness and death.
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