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Compare and Contrast Literary Works

Essay by   •  March 3, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  3,058 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,566 Views

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Running Head: Compare and Contrast Literary Works

Rough Draft

In this paper I will be writing a rough draft which I will compare and contrast two literary works. These two works will also share the same theme as well. Racial inequality and its cruelty pulsate, shouting from the top of the world what it considers to be true. In spite of advancements in social rights with the abolishment of slavery over 100 years ago and the civil rights movement, it still exists. Both short story writings, "Country Lovers" by Nadine Gordimer and "The Welcome Table" by Alice Walker bring to light the issues that face all people in the world today with race relations. These two writings are timeless in addressing the continued social problem of interracial relationships. This work will explore and compare the use of point of view, image and symbolism in each story and how these literary elements are used to illustrate how deep societal division affect one's ability to find equality and love no matter the color.

I found that both literary works have a common theme which presents issues with isolation, assimilation of race, and the struggles of bridging the gap between two worlds. Race and Ethnicity are alive in these short stories. Both stories have the complex issue of how to inter mingle the races within a society when the law does not permit it and when it is not even socially accepted to the point of being socially illegal.

The stories take place at almost the same time, in different countries, but both show racial discrimination toward the main character. "Racism is an enduring, salient aspect of social and global structures. It is based on demonstrably false theories of racial differences appropriated by a culture in order to deny or unjustly distribute social privileges, economic opportunities, and political rights to the racially stigmatized groups.

Running Head: Compare and Contrast Literary Works

Racism, thus, structures social differences, power, and culture, as when, according to George Fredrickson, "one ethnic group or historical collectivity dominates, excludes, or seeks to eliminate another on the basis of differences that it believes are hereditary and unalterable" (Racism, 2002). It could be argued that racism is the theme in both of these stories; however I would need to disagree. I feel that Racism is a big part of each of the stories, but not the main theme of the story. In "The Welcome Table," judgment and death are the main themes and in Country Lovers it is love and betrayal. Now yes, racism could be the third theme of the stories. Without racism in each of the stories, you would not have a plot. The author of each story approached the subject of racism in different ways.

I will look at the tone, point of view, and characters in each story to show the similarities and differences in them. While there can be different themes in stories, I believe that these stories have at least one theme in common. "Country Lover" and "The Welcome Table" are very different stories, but racism connects them together. Character is an imaginary person in a story (Clungston, 2010). Also as stated in the text "a character can be the story's narrator, telling the story from his/her point of view or sometimes, on behalf of the author. But the action of the characters may also be described by a narrator who is outside the story" (Clungston, 2010).

The main characters in both short stories are black females. Let's talk a little about both of the characters, their similarities, and differences. In "Country Lovers" Thebedi is a young black female growing up in the 70's during the South African Apartheid. During the reading you get a chance to witness the growth and development of Thebedi. The

Running Head: Compare and Contrast Literary Works

time span goes from playing with the other children to being an adult, married with children. The sweetness and innocence of Thebedi is obvious, she is footloose and fancy free as she carries on a prohibited relationship with the farm owner's son. She is forced to be secretive to her family and tell no one of her relationship with the farmer's son, and she also has to marry another man when a marriage is arranged for her.

Interracial dating can be a hard issue to deal with rather it is in the past or the present. Many people in the present day are afraid of what would happen if they date out of their race. According to the article "Historical Analysis of College Campus Interracial Dating" many students would not attend family gatherings or go visit their families because they are afraid of what the family's thoughts would be if they dated out of their race (Firmin, Firebaugh, 2008). It is also said that many parents will become less involved in their children's lives if they were in an interracial relationship.

Perhaps with the stories that Nadine has written about the struggles of interracial dating one could possibly use them as a guide in understand relationships between both races. Maybe one day society can see interracial dating as a form of integration. Integration or desegregation is a part of the story "The Welcome Table". In the story there is a church with all white members that attend. One particular Sunday there is an old black lady that walks in the church and takes a seat. The old black lady is shunned out of the church just because she is black. The white people felt as though she was intruding on their religion and that she was not good enough to be in their church.

The lady didn't care about the isolated treatment that she was getting from the church members so she stayed in her seat, only to be physically thrown out by some of the male

Running Head: Compare and Contract Literary Works

members of the church. The isolation in the story is shown throughout the beginning. The church members isolated the old woman because she was black, poor, and looked sickly. They thought she represented evil and didn't want her to ruin or intrude on their privacy and the church. The old lady in the story could not believe how she was getting treated by the church members because she had raised and cared for many of those people.

The characters in both stories were similar in a few ways. Both were black females living during the times of discrimination and segregation. They differed in many ways as well, their ages, looks, actions, and attitude. Thebedi did nothing when Paulus came to see and kill their new born baby to hide the fact the he had fathered a mixed race baby,

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