All these stories of different cultures and religions are of the theme of love and loss. They mainly concern segregation of creed and colour that has prevented or come between two lovers being together. In these stories love is lost due to death or the segregation of two people for reasons other than culture or religion. All these short stories contain a message of how we grow up physically but should never grow up inside in reference to our insight on other people.
As you grow up you should still be able to relate to your best friend or young love just as did when you were kids regardless or skin colour, race or religion. In the stories many love relationships started off from a very young age but were ended when the reality and unfairness of the real world became apparent as they grew into adults. In The School Teachers Guest the main character ‘Schoolteacher Ines’ has strong maternal love for her son, who in the story is murdered. In this story it shows how someone can show their love and affection for someone even when they are not alive.
It also shows how the maternal love she had for her son was so great that she never lost the desire for revenge and was willing to kill for it. The writer reveals the strong maternal love that Ines holds for her son in the phrase ‘educated several generations of children with the tenacious affection she would of have bestowed upon her own son’ The use of the phrase ‘several generations’ is to show how many kids Ines treated and cared for so dearly like she would of for her son.
This also shows how much she cared for her son in the vast numbers she cared for to make up for the care she wasn’t giving her son, because of his death. A quote from schoolteacher Ines from the story that shows her desire for revenge is, ‘I’m in the right, he killed my boy’ which was said after murdering her sons killer. In this quote the words ‘my boy’ makes the whole phrase a lot stronger and emotive in its meaning. ‘My boy’ is quite personal, and shows how her son was hers and a part of her. In this quote, schoolteacher Ines is justifying killing her son’s murderer. She thinks that’s right and fair.
This is shown in another quote in the story by Schoolteacher Ines in line one hundred and twelve, ‘ An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ this is an old saying meaning what goes around comes around ( what you do to others, others will do to you ). The tale of Schoolteacher Ines is very similar but different to that of ‘Country lovers’. Both these stories show how a child has changed the course of someone’s feelings for someone else, for good or for bad. In ‘The schoolteachers guest’ the death of Schoolteachers Ines son unites the love that, unknown to each other, Riad Halabi and Schoolteacher Ines shared for each other.
But in ‘Country lovers’ the already present and obvious love that Thebedi and Paulus Eysendyck had for each other was destroyed at the birth of their son. It is ironic how the death of something so traditionally wonderful as a baby can bring two people together in love or can tear people apart. In ‘Veronica’ there is one main example of love. It is the love that Okeke and Veronica hold for one another. This love is almost unconditional but is torn apart by sexism in the world and also Veronicas down beat ‘look out’ on her life.
This story has the strong message ‘Carpe diem’ ( seize the day) which in this instinct relates to how Veronica really wasted her life by not breaking free from her family and home ,as both her two siblings did, taking on and striving for greater things for herself in the city. The story is about how easily satisfied Veronica is with what she has and also shows how different lifestyles and backgrounds can prevent friendships thriving. The writer shows this in the quote ‘I lacked the time’. Here Okeke says how he cannot find the time for Veronica anymore.
He lets their love die as he is blinded by the sexism and stereotypical prejudiced of his era. The writer shows Veronicas terrible attitude towards life when Okeke asks ‘How are you? ‘ She responds ‘I’m still here, as you left me. What should have happened to me? ‘ The impersonal language in this quote and the way she so casually addresses Okeke ,who she has not seen for ten years, shows how nothing has really happened to her in that space of time to fade the memories of how Okeke and herself use to be so close.
Whereas Okeke speaks very little asking short questions such as ‘How are you? and ‘Who is your husband’,as he feels slightly awkward and apprehensive about meeting a Veronica, his past friend, whom he has not seen for ten years. An example of the feelings of affection Okeke holds for Veronica is shown in the quote ‘I thought I saw a tear in her eye’. Okeke also feels strong guilt for leaving Veronica behind in the village when he goes in search of better things in the city. This is shown when he offers to give money to Veronica to break out into the bigger world, ‘when I have qualified I will send you money’.
The ‘when I have qualified’ in this phrase shows how confident Okeke is in his future in the city. But ironically the whole phrase really represents how insecure and unconfident he is in Veronica future. That is reason why he gives her money because he feels guilty because he knows she won’t have the opportunities or quality of life that he will. He is trying to help Veronica by aiding her but also trying to ease the guilt he feels for leaving her behind by giving her the money to make a better life for herself if she chooses.
This story can also be compared to ‘Country lovers’. In both stories the love that the two people share for each other is split with a barrier. And in both stories especially ‘Veronica’ it is wealth and education and Status that is the divide. In these two stories the love involved are different. The love that is shared between Paulus and Thebidi is Sexual whereas the love that Veronica and Okeke share for eachother is that off strong friendship. In both stories a love is lost.
In Country lovers Thebidis baby is killed by poisoning and in ‘Veronica’, Okekes Veronica dies from a lack of will to live anymore. ‘Country lovers’ is a story all about the love of Paulus, a white boy and son of a farm owner, and Thebidi who works on Paulus dad’s farm. They have a strong love for eachother which is broken at the birth of their unexpected child. This story shows how racial segregation doesn’t allow people of different race to mix and hold relationships, and if a relationship exists from childhood before real segregation it will inevitably be destroyed.
The story is also to give a message of how relaxed and normal racial segregation and discrimination against black people was and how it was overlooked as an issue by all whites and many blacks because that’s all they ever new. An example of how the writer wants to show racial segregation in this story as very relaxed and a way of life for black people, is in the first paragraph when he says, ‘ so that by the time early adolescence is reached, the black children are making….. an easy transition to adult forms of address, beginning to call their old playmates missus and baasie – little master.
The ‘easy’ in this sentence really makes it clear to the reader how relaxed racial segregation and discrimination for the young black people was and how it was a way of life and not frowned upon. Also the fact that it was an ‘easy transition’ to make means that the segregation was not a problem and did not need white enforcement for it to take place. It was an accepted way of life. In this story the two lovers share a lot of affection for each other. This is shown when Thebidi tells her friend ‘she had another sweetheart nobody new about, far away.
Some of the words used in this sentence are very childish and young words that young people of that time would relate to such as her ‘sweetheart’ which she refers to Paulus as. Also the term ‘far away’ that she uses kind of creates this magical love like in fairytales that adds that young love affect to it. Both these uses of language would make the reader endear to Thebidi and her feelings for Paulus, especially female reader who would empathise as they know what its like to be a teenage girl in love. Another example is how girls ‘giggled, teased, and admired her’ when she received gifts from Paulus.