The Moment Before The Gun Went Off


The Moment Before the Gun Went Off is a short story by Nadine Gordimer. The story is set in South Africa during the Apartheid era. The protagonist, Maureen, is a white woman who is married to a black man. The couple have a son, who is also black. Maureen’s husband is killed by a police officer during a protest against the Apartheid government. The story focuses on Maureen’s thoughts and emotions in the moments before her husband is killed.

The story highlights the racism and violence of the Apartheid regime, as well as the human cost of the conflict. It also explores themes of love, loss, and grief. The Moment Before the Gun Went Off is a powerful and moving story that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it.

Marais Van der Vyver, the protagonist of Nadine Gordimer’s short story “The Moment Before the Gun Went Off,” is seen as an aloof, wealthy white man. Lucas, the African farm boy who dies as a result of an accident, offers a clearer perspective on Van der Vyer’s personality.

The reader is given an insight to Van der Vyer’s true character when his The death of Lucas also causes Van der Vyver to have a change in perspective. The story concludes with Van der Vyver realizing that he was the one at fault and decides to leave the farm.

In Nadine Gordimer’s short story, “The Moment Before the Gun Went Off,” Maraish Van der Vyver is characterized as an aloof, rich white man. The accidental death of Lucas, the black farm boy brings about a clearer perspective on Van der Vyer’s character. The reader is given an insight to Van der Vyer’s true character when his The death of Lucas also causes Van der Vyver to have a change in perspective. The story concludes with Van der Vyver realizing that he was the one at fault and decides to leave the farm.

When we first meet Maraish Van der Vyver, he is characterized as an aloof, rich white man. He is the owner of a large farm and employs many black workers. The accidental death of Lucas, a black farm boy, brings about a clearer perspective on Van der Vyer’s character. The reader is given an insight to Van der Vyer’s true character when his The death of Lucas also causes Van der Vyver to have a change in perspective. The story concludes with Van der Vyver realizing that he was the one at fault and decides to leave the farm.

Lucas’ death forces Van der Vyver to see himself and the world around him in a new light. Prior to Lucas’ death, Van der Vyver was content to live in his own little world, surrounded by his wealth and privilege. But after the accident, Van der Vyver is forced to confront the reality of life for those who are not as fortunate as he is. He realizes that he has been living in a bubble and that he is partly responsible for the conditions on his farm. The death of Lucas makes Van der Vyver realize that he can no longer turn a blind eye to the suffering of others.

Van der Vyver’s change in perspective is evident in the way he treats his workers after the accident. Prior to Lucas’ death, Van der Vyver was content to let his workers live in substandard conditions. But after the accident, Van der Vyver realizes that he can no longer ignore the plight of his workers. He decides to improve their living conditions and give them a raise. This shows that Van der Vyver has finally realized that his workers are human beings with needs and feelings, and not just machines who exist to serve him.

Van der Vyer’s character is at the heart of the narrative’s theme. Gordimer’s depiction of him demonstrates that despite racial tensions, people from various races and social classes can form relationships. Van der Vyer is not described outright by Gordimer. Instead, she employs the protagonist’s thoughts, behaviors, and just a few words he says to show readers who he truly is.

Furthermore, as a result of her depiction, readers may witness the underlying connections that he had established with black people at the time. When asked in an interview after Lucas’ death if she was his girlfriend, Van der Vyer stated, ” I was his friend; I’ve taken him hunting many times.”

The way Gordimer has written this story, readers can see that there was no enmity between the two men and that their relationship was one built on trust. The title “The Moment Before the Gun Went Off” is significant because it refers to the instant before Van der Vyer fatally shoots Lucas. The title suggests that the shooting was an accident, and that Van der Vyer did not mean to kill his friend. The title also raises questions about whether or not the shooting was inevitable, given the tense racial environment of South Africa at the time.

Gordimer uses foreshadowing throughout the story to hint at the tragic ending. For example, when Lucas tells Van der Vyer that he is going to marry Marike, Van der Vyer thinks to himself, “Lucas had betrayed him. The boy was a kaffir.” The word “betrayed” suggests that Van der Vyer will feel betrayed by Lucas’ marriage to a black woman, and the word “kaffir” is a derogatory term for a black person. This foreshadows the moment when Van der Vyer will pull the trigger and kill Lucas.

The story is set in South Africa during the apartheid era, when relationships between black and white people were very tense. The characters in the story are all affected by the racial tensions of the time. Gordimer uses these characters to explore the themes of trust, friendship, and betrayal across racial lines.

Van der Vyer is a white man who owns a farm in South Africa. He is friends with Lucas, a black man who works on the farm. The two men share a mutual respect for each other, and Van der Vyer even trusts Lucas enough to take him hunting with him. However, their friendship is tested when Lucas announces that he is going to marry Marike, a black woman. Van der Vyer feels betrayed by Lucas, and he eventually shoots and kills him.

Gordimer uses the characters in the story to explore the theme of trust across racial lines. Van der Vyer trusted Lucas enough to take him hunting with him, but he felt betrayed when Lucas announced his marriage to Marike. The shooting can be seen as an act of betrayal, as Van der Vyer killed Lucas even though he was his friend.

In this passage, Vercors praises Van der Vyer for her courageous act of speaking out against apartheid. He emphasized that she acted “in the long shadow of Des Hertelendes,” and that Gordimer used her to expose what she thought was more to a narrative than what the general public considered it to be. It was meant to demonstrate that connections can exist without anyone knowing about them. Lucas was Van der Vyer’s child. He lost not just a farm boy, but also a son he treasured very much. People were simply unaware of it.

The reader is also reminded that there are different types of relationships and not all have to be sexual in nature. The title of the story, “The Moment Before the Gun Went Off”, is significant because it represents the relationship between Lucas and Van der Vyer. The gun going off is a metaphor for their relationship ending. The story ends with a sense of loss and grief because not only was Van der Vyer’s life cut short, but so was the father-son bond that he shared with Lucas.


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