Thursday, June 09, 2005

Grade

Chris-Your literary analysis was great. You need to include more paragraphs and edit a little better, but your focus was good.

The visual appeal of your Blogger was also nice, with the use of varying font color.

You lost points on your history, author info, and story summary, which was not in your own words. All work must be your own, or it is considered plagiarism.

I’ve enjoyed having you in class. Good luck next year. I’ll look for you in plays and film.

Your final grade on this project is 106/130 (82%)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Intent

The purpose of studying world literature is to learn about other cultures and see how literature depicts them. War, peace, prosperity and hardships all have an effect on the substance within a piece of literature. By learning through reading, you can better understand a culture and what their daily lives might be like. I have selected to study African culture using the story "The Ultimate Safari" by Nadine Gordimer. I chose to do this story because I know that Africa has gone through a large amount of civil war and civilian uprisings against the governments. I am interested to see from the viewpoint of someone that has been effected by the wars. Some African governments are responsible for mass murdering their people with weapons and starvation, and then trying to cover it up. How is it possible to survive in such hostile conditions and what scars would this leave?

History

Mozambique is located in southeast Africa, along the Mozambique Channel. The capital is Maputo and at about twice the size of California, Mozambique is home to about 19 million people. Starting out as a colony under Portuguese rule Mozambique gained it's independence in 1975. A severe civil war slowed progress in the nation and Marxism was used until 1989 when it was abandoned by the new government. The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) set up a new constitution in 1990 after 10 years of fighting and allowed for multi-party elections and a free market economy. Civil war ceased in 1992 under an agreement between FRELIMO and the rebel Mozambique National Resistance.


Nadine Gordimer the author of "The Ultimate Safari," was born in Springs, South Africa on November 20, 1923. Growing up she attended private schools and lived in a segregated society. She began writing at the age of 9 and had her first story published at age 15, in 1951 she recieved her first entry in the "New Yorker." Her first book entitled "The Lying Days," was published in 1953 and deals largely with the effects of a racially divided society, as do many of her novels. The most noted accomplishment of her career is recieving the 1991 Nobel prize for literature.She has taught in numerous universities and done many television documentaries. Nadine still continues to write and currently lives in South Africa.


"The Ultimate Safari" was published in 1989 and is a work of fiction. It covers the story of a refugee family as they trek across Mozambique, escaping war and fleeing into South Africa. The story also deals with such issues as racial segregation in the form of apartheid and the effects of war on people. It is believed to be based on actual events and Gordimer has stated that she feels this is one of her best works to date.

Summary

"The Ultimate Safari" by Nadine Gordimer was first seen in 1989 in the British publication "Granta." The story follows as a family of refugees from Mozambique travel across Kruger Park and into South Africa. Gordimer visited a refugee camp in 1991 and it is believed she based the book on actual characters and events. "The Ultimate Safari" talks of attempts to over-throw the Marxist government and the effects apartheid have on the people of Africa. In addition fear of black supremecy causes South Africa to launch bombing raids on Mozambique which the narrator depicts in the story.

Literary Analysis

The story "The Ultimate Safari" takes place in Mozambique, a country in Africa. At the time this story was written, Mozambique was going through a difficult period in it's history. Civil war was threatening the lives of many, and speaking out against the government could get you arrested or killed. Nadine Gordimer knew of these dangers and even helped to hide some of her friends from danger, putting herself at great risk. She knew that writing openly about the terrible things in going on in Mozambique could get her killed, and many of her books were banned. For this reason she chose to use a large amount of symbolism in "The Ultimate Safari."

When reading, you are told that the girl's grandmother and grandfather are very different. The grandmother is strong and big, where as her husband is thin and frail. The grandmother becomes a point of stregth for the children, and gives them the help they need to continue their journey. In a way she represents the strong will of all the refugees to survive and work toward peace. As the story progresses the family starts to move through the Kruger park. They must remain very quiet and cannot light any fires, if they are found they will be sent back home. One day, the grandfather is not feeling well and leaves to be alone while going to the bathroom. He never returns and they spend a day or two searching for him without ever finding him. The disappearances of the girl's mother and grandfather should not be over looked. The author is trying to make the readers aware that these things really are occuring. People leave for the store or for a walk, and never return. This leaves their families wondering what to do and how to move on.

One of the biggest uses of symbolism in the story is how Gordimer speaks of lions. The lions are very dangerous, much like the feared rebel fighters, or bandits. Whenever the lions are around the group must go very far out of their way to avoid them. One night the lions invade the camp and many refugees are afraid for their lives. The leader of the group is forced to yell and flail about in order to scare the lions away and save the people. There are also references to birds, these birds are much like the rebel soldiers as well. The birds are always circling overhead and feeding on dead animals, never leaving any extra meat. The rebel fighters in Mozambique would often come into towns and set them on fire. They would steal all the valuables and food, after this they would poison the well so no one would have clean drinking water. When the people finally reach the refugee camp they find shelter under a giant tent. This tent is home to families from all over the surrounding areas who were looking for safety and proper health care. The girl in the story describes the tent as a new community, a new home. There is a mixture of people, but everyone is living under one roof, in peace. The last, but most important use of symbolism comes near the end of the story. The grandmother has found a job in town and has used the money she made to buy the children school shoes and black polish. Everyday the children must polish their shoes under the watchful eye of their grandmother. They are the only children in the entire camp that have nice school shoes, and are very proud of that. To me these shoes and polish represent hope. A hope for the future that one day better things will come. That perhaps they can return home to Mozambique and find their mother again, without the threat of war and famine. This is a hope that many people of the world share, without hope their is nothing left for people to look foward to.

Conclusion

I chose to do Nadine Gordimer's book "The Ultimate Safari." The reason that I chose to do this piece was because I didn't know much about African history, specifically the fight for equal rights. A lot of times Americans take for granted the freedoms that we enjoy everyday. We don't stop and think that there are many countries throughout the world that do not have the same basic freedoms that we do. Many people are still fighting to gain independence from dictatorships and some nations still believe in the institution of slavery. "The Ultimate Safari" talks about apartheid, which in the language of Afrikans, means separated. Apartheid was put into place by a predominantly white government to make sure the white race stayed in power. Thanks to the work of Nelson Mandella (see photo)
and several others, who were imprisoned for their efforts, many black African people have gained equality. Additionally, diseases such as HIV are spreading throughout Africa, causing many to finally put down their guns and work toward a greater peace. In conclusion, I enjoyed my experience using blogger and found it a useful tool for the future. I am considering using it to post what is happening in my life while I am away at college, to keep friends back home informed. I recommend this as a good way to keep in touch and as a useful homework tool which allows you to work from anywhere.

Works Cited

"Google Images". 5-31-2005 .
Gordimer, Nadine. The Ultimate Safari. Granta, 1989.
"Nadine Gordimer". 5-30-2005 .
"Picture". 5-31-2005 .