The text “Pink” by Judith Thompson is structured as a fictional monologue. Using stream of consciousness and flashbacks, the author conveys a little girl’s thoughts about the death of her black nanny during the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The story is not chronological, but the author uses some of the classical plot elements: initial situation, development, and resolution. At a deeper level, the way the short story is composed reflects the relationships and conflicts between the characters.




The short story begins with the initial situation (as part of the exposition), expressed through stage directions. Lucy is standing next to the coffin of her nanny, who has been killed during a march: “LUCY, a ten-year-old white girl talking to her dead black nurse, Nellie, shot in a march, in her open coffin.” (p. 175, ll. 1-2)



The middle of the story presents the development of the initial situation— Lucy’s reflections on Nellie.

Using flashbacks (memories) and stream of consciousness (unedited thought flow, but which is voiced out loud by Lucy), the story reveals the way racism is taught to children.

Firstly, we get to know that Lucy has been taught to believe that segregation is a good thing. This is why she is upset with Nellie and cannot understand why she went to the march where she was shot:

…what you guys don’t understand, what you didn’t see, is apartheid is for YOU. IT’S FOR YOUR GUYS FEELINGS, see, like we got separate washrooms cause you like to spit, and if we said, ‘Eww yucch, don’t spit,’ it would hurt your feelings… (pp. 175-176, ll. 8-3)



The ending of the short story, or the resolution, confirms that Lucy feels guilty about Nellie’s death: “…I made you die. I made you go in that march and I made you die. I know that forever. I said I was sorry…” (p. 177, ll. 11-13)


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