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- The moment before the gun went off
- By Nadine Gordimer (1988)
- Questions for discussion
- What is the conflict in the story? Its about a white man who shoots a black man and then afterwards the reader finds out that the white man is actually the black mans father
- Describe the setting of the story. In what ways is it important to the story's action? (time & place)
- South Africa under the apartheid
- Why does the narrator not tell us right away that Marais Van der Vyver has shot his own son?
- If the reader doesn't know in the first place that this is in fact his son we would think it’s a racially conflicted murder because of the actions under apartheid in South Africa
- Make a list of the various voices that tell the reader about Marais Van der Vyver and the shooting accident.
- Explain why especially the overseas press would want to write about a case like this.
- It's because it's just after apartheid, and then he "accidently" shoot a black man and that's something that's not so popular right now.
- What do the people in the farming community let us know about Marais Van der Vyver? And about friendships between blacks and whites?
- That he normally was very nice to the black, and he had a very good relationsship with the black young man
- Describe Marais Van der Vyver's relationship with his wife and with the dead man's mother.
- What I analyze was that Marais Van had a secret relationship with the dead man's mother, because Marais Van was the dead man's father, and the woman and him had a affair when apartheid was, so it was illegal.
- "How could they know that they do not know. Anything". What does the narrator mean?
- Maybe because the narrator tries to say that the other people don’t know about that the dead man's mother and Marais Van had a child together.
- What do you think is the message of this short story?
- Take care of the things you love, or don't have guns in your home?
- Relate the story to the subject “South Africa”. Give examples from the text.
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