An analysis of the short story “The Guilt” by Rayda Jacobs shows that the text follows a chronological plot structure. The narrative contains some flashbacks, which highlight the main character’s guilt about being white and privileged. 

The main characters of the story are Lilian Thurgood – an elderly white woman – and William Sidlayi, a black South African. Their encounter highlights the relationships between white and black South Africans post-apartheid

The physical setting is somewhere in South Africa, on Lilian’s property. The time setting reveals that the events take place sometime after the end of apartheid. The social setting focuses on the social dynamics between white and black South Africans. The story mainly explores the class differences and the inequalities between whites and blacks in post-apartheid South Africa. 

The story is told by a third-person narrator, who follows Lilian and her reactions to what happens to her. Everything Lilian experiences is told from her point of view. 

The language is neutral and simple, with plenty of symbols, which highlight the class differences between Lilian and William. Dialogue also plays an important role in the story, as it shows the attitudes of the characters regarding their social differences. 

A full analysis of the short story can be found in the following pages. 

Short story analysis

I denne vejledning får du Studienets hjælp til at analysere noveller (short stories) i engelsk.