The research paper is dedicated to the analysis of the two literature works; the core purpose of paper is to analyze the contents and comparison of the general ideals, tolls, ad trends, inherent in each particular work of literature. The paper would analyze the following works of literature: “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber, and “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer. The core difference between these works of literature is that the first story is mainly based on the personal problems of the individual in the particular society, which are the lack of communication, rejection by other members of the society etc.; so the impact of negative social environment on the life of individual is a central idea of the story. The second story analyzes the negative impact of the Apartheid rule on social life, after the example of the particular social members. Their story discloses the racial discrimination, which implies giving a birth to a child with the representative of another race as the illegal action, and murdering this child by the white person as an “acceptable” action.
The research paper would have the following stricture: analysis of each word of the literature individually and having an integrated conclusion of the core differences, and common features of the stories.
First of all, in the scopes of this paper it is important to rely on the background of the chosen works of literature. The first one to be discussed is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. The author of this story is James Thurber. It is one of the commonly known works of the author, which has been published for the first time in The New Yorker in 1939. In addition, this story has been the first one in the author book My World and Welcome to It, which has been published in 1942. Also, this work of literature has been republished in the James Thurber: Writings and Drawings in 1996, and, after that, it has become the most commonly and frequently read and discussed short storey of American literature. The men of literature consider it as one of the authors’ “acknowledged masterpieces”.
Walter Mitty, the main hero of the story has got its derivative word “Mittyesque”. This word has entered the English language, and it characterizes a person, who is not tending to achieve the real results, and to live in accordance with the rules and environment of real life. Such individual spends, or even more wastes, the lion’s share of time in the heroic daydreams. Also, the inherent feature of such individual is to convince other people that one is nothing in real life, and he acts in an improper manner. This notion is also applied in the military circles for individuals, who are tending to make an impressive career, which is a fake one.
The next issue to be discussed in the scopes of this paper is a plot of the story. This work of literature mainly deals with the mild-mannered and vague man. This man drives to Waterbury, Connecticut, with his wife in order to spend the weekend there, and to have regular shopping. Also, the wife of main hero has an intension of visiting the beauty salon.
In the time frame of the weekend, the five daydream episodes have taken place. In the first episode, the main hero imagines that he is piloting the flying boat of the US Navy in a storm. The second episode is taking place, when he is a professional and magnificent surgery. In the third episode, the main hero occurs in the courtroom as a cool assassin, who is testified. The fourth incident is when Walter Mitty feels as a pilot of the Royal Air Force, who is volunteering a secret and daring suicide mission – ammunition dump bombings.
At the end of the storey, the main hero considers oneself to be in situation, when one faces firing squad, “inscrutable to the last”. It is important to pay additional attention to the fact that the each of all above listed episodes are caused by the situations, which take place in the real environment of the main hero. For instance, after Mrs. Mitty has complaint about Mitty’s fast manner of driving, the “Navy hydroplane” idea has occurred in Mitty’s mind. In other words, the fast manner of driving has caused the daydream. The case with the surgery occurred in the mind of Mitty after he has been out on the gloves (the manipulation, inherent in professional activity of surgeries). The drama in the courtroom has been mainly caused by the cliché “Perhaps this will refresh your memory”. It occurred in the mind of main hero after he has been trying to recall, what exactly his wife has asked him to purchase.
The fourth incident has been mainly caused by reading of the old copy of Liberty, where it has been stated: “Can Germany Conquer the World through the Air?” This phrase has made the imagination of Mitty to envision himself as a man, fighting against Germany, while being a pilot of the plane, which is normally piloted by two. The last scene occurred in the imagination of the hero as he has been smoking.
While relying to the core themes of the story, it is important to outline the following information. The man with extremely mundane life is depicted in the story. His everyday life is full of interruptions, caused by the escapist fantasies of his mind and soul. In his fantasies and in the occasions, created in his mind, he is brave and fearless, and in the real life he feebly protests, and the core characteristic of his everyday behavior is cautious. In his fantasies, his actions are widely admired and, consequently, he feels a self-sufficient person. While referring to the everyday occasions, situations, actions, and the attitude of people towards him, the situation differs inversely. He has not got the pleasant interactions with people, who surround him. In other words, he has not got the friendly and comfortable social environment. The only person who supports him is his wife. She worries about his inner world and occasions, which take place there. She often takes his temperature in order to clarify, whether he is in normal health condition or sick. Mitty has not established friendly relationships with other people, for instance: the policeman yells to him, the woman, who has heard as he was saying “Puppy biscuit” to the dog, has been laughing at him. In other words, the society considers him as an aberrant, to some extent, person.
It is important to pay additional attention to the fact that Mitty is the Thurber protagonist and, consequently, he has been called as “the archetype for dreamy, hapless, Thurber Man”. In the same manner as the male heroes of other stories of the author, and the husband from “The Unicorn in the Garden”, in particular, he is a physically unimposing man. It is obvious that, in the family relations, Mitty’s wife dominates him. Mitty frequently escapes in the world of his fantasies: sees the unicorns, etc.
Thomas Fensch, the author of “The Man Who Was Walter Mitty: the Life and Work of James Thurber” book, considers that the character of the main hero is largely based on the writer’s life attitude and character.
The last issue to be discussed about the story is the wordplay: it may be seen in the cloning of the set of nonsense terms and the pseudo-medical jargon, in particular: “obstreosis of the ductal tract”,”ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa”, “streptothricosis”, etc. The medical nonsense here is that the name of the flower, used in the phrase “coreopsis has set in” implies critical medical condition rather than the name of particular flower (Thurber, 2008).
The next work of literature to be discussed in the scopes of this paper is the “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer. It is a short story. The story takes place in the country of its author (South Africa), and it outlines the outcomes of relationship between the white boy and black girl in the time frame of Apartheid rule.
In order to understand the entire essence of the Apartheid rule, it is important to outline the core information and issues, related to this rule.
It is possible to define the apartheid as the system, implying the social segmentation, based on racial factor, and which has applied the National Party government legislation to the enforcement. The National Party has been a ruling party in South Africa in the time frame1948- 1994. In accordance with the Apartheid regulations, the rights of the lion’s share of black citizens of South Africa have been restricted, and the maintenance of the Afrikaner minority by the white supremacy has been carried out (Mountain, 2003).
This system has been established after the Second World War by the Broederbond organisations and the dominated National Party (Afrikaner). The racial discrimination in South Africa has initially taken place in the time frame of the colonial regime, ruled by Denmark and Great Britain. While referring to the apartheid, it is important to put an emphasis on the fact that it has been the official policy, issued in the 1948 by general election. The classification of the racial group implied four of them: “white”, “native”, “Asian” and “colored”. Also then residential areas have been defined, and the force removals have also taken place.
While relying on political representation, the non-white members have been abolished completely by 1970. In the educational system, healthcare, public services, justice system, there has also been the race classification (as it is shown in the particular world of literature – Country Lovers).
Also, after the example of Thebedi, it is possible to see that the racial discrimination in the country has been also supported by the set of gender discrimination issues. The oppression against the females, inhabiting South Africa, has differed from the discrimination of the black men. The colored females have not been provided with access to education, employment, and the right of owning property. It has been a complicated issue for the African women to find a good job, they have been mainly employed as agricultural or domestic workers with low salary rate (Thebedi has been working on the farm). The mortality rate among children has been high due to the set of reasons: diseases, murders, etc (Du Pre, 1995).
While referring to the plot of the story, it is important to outline the following facts. Paulus, the white boy and Thebedi, the black girl, have been friends since childhood. As they grew up, they have also experienced sexual relationships. But in accordance with the Apartheid rule, such relationships were illegal, so they have hidden them from the society they lived in. After Thebedi has discovered that she was pregnant, she has made a decision not to tell Paulus and, instead of that, to marry the black man Njabulo. After the baby was born, it has become obvious that she has got the hazel eyes and light skin (like her father Paulus). After Paulus was told about the baby, he has been very upset and wanted to see the daughter. He has visited her in the hut. One day after his visit, the baby was found dead. The trial has taken place but Paulus has been judged as guilty, due to a lack of proof.
While disusing the core characters of the story, (Paulus, Thebedi Njabulo and Eysendyck), it is important to outline the following information. As it has been noted above, Njabulo and Thebedi have been married, but before that, Thebedi has experienced the relationships with Paulus. As a result of such relations, Thebedi has given a birth to the baby in two moths after the marriage. In the beginning of the story, it has been mentioned that Thebedi and Paulus have known each other since their childhood, and even after Paulus has gone to the boarding school, and other children have called him as baasie – “little master”. As they grew up, they have experienced the sexual relationship, which were a secret for others. These relations have become obvious also due to the fact that Njabulo had a crush for Thebedi, but she did not care because she was in love with Paulus.
The dominative figure in the relations between two lovers was Paulus: he has made the decision, concerning the time and place of meeting for having sex. After Thebedi realized that she was pregnant, she hasn’t told Paulus about that and married Njabulo, who might also have been a father of a baby because she had the sexual relations with him, too. The marriage was an arranged one because Njabulo had affection for Thebedi. After the baby was born, and it was obvious that the real husband of Thebedi was not the actual father of the baby, Njabulo has spent all his earning on the daughter and has not complaint of that fact. Paulus was a selfish person. He did not care about the baby but still considered Thebedi as a sexually attractive woman for him. Some days later, Paulus has probably murdered the baby. At the trial, Thebedi has not told, who the real father of the baby was, and she has referred their relations with Paulus to the childhood thing.
One year after that, Thebedi has given a birth to another baby, and she was living with a loving Njabulo, he supported her. It has been obvious that the relationships between Paulus and Thebedi were already finished.
As a résumé of the storey, Thebedi is shown as 18 years old pretty poor and black lady, she is living in the kraal, and her father works at the farm, owned by Paul’s father. Sometimes, Thebedi helps her father with the work at the farm and about the house.
Paulus Eysendyck is shown as 19 years old son of a quite rich farmer. He was getting education in the boarding school in order to become a veterinarian. There is a high probability that the crime- murdering of the baby has been committed by him. The core motive for such crime was the disclosing fact of sexual relations between the representatives of different races and, as result, the negative impact of such fact on future career and social aspect of life. On the other hand, such fact shows the selfish and cruel nature of Paulus. Paulus has not been sentenced to the punishment because of the lack of the evident facts, proving his guilty in the crime commitment.
While discussing Njabulo character, it is possible to state a fact that he is a bright personality. He also lives in the kraal and works at the farm. He does not earn much money, but he is still noble and kind person. He took care of the Thebedi and Paulus’ baby; after baby has died he supported his wife. It is possible to consider him as the most admirable person in the story. This fact may be supported by the evidence of putting the needs of Thebedi before his own needs. He is shown as the caring and loving personality – opposition to the personality of Paulus.
In the scopes of the literature discussion work it is important to rely on the fact that the story is told in the third person. The core reason of telling the story in the third person is reaching the neutral point of the story.
Finally, It is possible to state a fact that the core message of the story is the apartheid and its consequences for the people: it is an absurd, when a white man is not allowed to give a birth for a child with a black woman (because it is illegal) and, at the same time, it is not punished to kill the innocent baby, due to the fact that he is white. In other words, racial discrimination takes place in the story, and its negative impact is outlined by the author.
To conclude, it is possible to say that both stories are dedicated to the negative social penman discussion that is a rejection of an aberrant person (Mitty), and racial discrimination in South Africa., which has caused the murder of the own child, because one was born “illegally”, and this fact might have a negative impact on the future career development of her father.
It is important to pay additional attention to the fact that evaluation of an individual, due to one’s belonging to the minority group, or due to one’s gender and racial characteristics, cannot be considered as an ethical one, and as an effective approach towards the human right defining.
In order to be prosperous, humanistic, and fair, governments should apply the approach, which implies the evaluation of the real achievements, skills, and abilities of an individual, while making decisions concerning one’s development. It is important to make emphasize that the cross-cultural interrelation in the multinational social group should take into account all the aspects of human behavior, and should not remind the experience of the previous generations in racism, gender issues, and other types of discrimination and their outcomes.