The Moment Before the Gun Went Off

I denne study guide får du hjælp til at analysere novellen “The Moment Before the Gun Went Off” af Nadine Gordimer. Udover analysehjælpen kan du finde et summary af novellen samt forslag til at fortolke og perspektivere den. 

Præsentation af teksten

Titel: “The Moment Before the Gun Went Off” (1992)
Forfatter: Nadine Gordimer
Genre: Short story

Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014) var en sydamerikansk, hvid forfatter og aktivist. I 1991 modtog hun Nobelprisen i litteratur. Hun var også med-vinder af Booker-prisen i 1974 for hendes roman The Conservationist. Hendes værker handler typisk om moralske og politiske dilemmaer, især med relation til Sydafrika såsom apartheid. Gordimer var aktiv i bevægelsen mod apartheid og blev medlem af African National Congress, mens organisationen var forbudt.

Uddrag

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Title

The title of the short story “The Moment Before the Gun Went Off” by Nadine Gordimer creates an expectation that the story will be about an accident or a violent crime. The focus is on the gun going off, which might suggest an accident rather than a crime with intent. The expectation created by the title proves to be correct, but there is also a symbolic meaning, which is revealed towards the end of the story.

Right before the accident takes place, Van der Vyver experiences a moment of connection between Lucas and himself, similar to the one shared by him and Lucas’ mother while they are both staring at Lucas’ grave (ll. 137-140). This highlights the family connection between the three of them. Van der Vyver and Lucas' moment of connecttion is shared through the roof of the car, just like the bullet passes through the roof an instant later (ll. 141-144).

The moment of silent connection briefly highlights their relationship as father and son. However, this connection is only of a temporary nature, as Van der Vyver often ignores Lucas on the farm (ll. 144-145), suggesting how social norms affect their relation. 

Thus, at the moment when the gun goes off, they are separated: “the young black man outside and the white man inside the cab” (ll. 139-140). This becomes a symbol of the separation of people based on skin color enforced by the apartheid regime and social norms.

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The Moment Before the Gun Went Off

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