Physical setting

The events described in the short story “The Guilt” by Rayda Jacobs take place somewhere in South Africa. The place and the time of the action are never mentioned, but the story indicates that the events take place post-apartheid. This is shown by references to “the old regime” (p. 126, l. 16) and “the new government” (p. 125, l. 42). Apartheid was in place from 1948 until the 1990s, so the events described in the story take place after that time.

Lilian’s property is the central setting of the story: “The gate was locked, the wall round the property ten feet high” (p. 125, ll. 32-33). These protection measures suggest that, during and after apartheid, many whites distrusted black South Africans. Furthermore, the presence of the gun and the training of the dogs reinforce the idea that white people feared for their safety. It was also a way for white South Africans...

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