Here are the main features that will help you with the analysis of “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer. Note that the short story is the second part of a two-part literary piece called “Town and Country Lovers”.
The text has a traditional structure, presenting the events in chronological order. The story follows the relationship between the main characters from their childhood until they are young adults.
The main characters are Paulus, a white boy, the son of a farm owner, and Thebedi, a black girl whose family works on the farm. The two characters begin a secret relationship, which would otherwise be condemned by their communities.
The events take place in South Africa during apartheid. Particular attention is given to the kraal – the traditional African village of huts – and to the river bed – the place where Paulus and Thebedi usually meet. The social setting mainly presents the consequences of prejudice and discrimination, and the social differences between white and black South Africans during apartheid, dealing also with the rural society's reaction to interracial relationships.
“Country Lovers” is told by a third-person narrator, who follows the main characters over the years. The narrator is confined to the perspectives of Paulus and Thebedi, following them in turns.
The language is formal and employs both standard and complex grammar and vocabulary. The choice of words helps create the atmosphere of a South-African rural environment.
You can find a full analysis of “Country Lovers” in the following pages.