Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 11 : 2 February 2011
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.



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History Revisited in Oral History by Nadine Gordimer

Gulab Singh, Ph.D.
Divija Kumari, M.A.

South Africa's History Acts Upon Nadine Gordimer

Robert Green had once remarked:

"Finally, when the history of the Nationalist Governments from 1948 to the end comes to be written, Nadine Gordimer's shelf of novels will provide the future historian with all the evidence needed to assess the price that has been paid." (Green156)

What Green had felt about Nadine Gordimer's novels is perfectly true about her short stories too. Her works are believed to have "a massive historical and political significance as a developing and shifting response to events in modern South Africa, spanning over forty years and reaching into six decades, from the 1940s to the 1990s" (Dominic 2) . In the Introduction to the Selected Stories, Gordimer has herself acknowledged that in her writing 'she acts upon her society, while, in this relationship of mutual influence' (Dominic 3), history acts upon her. In her own words:

"The creative act is not pure .History evidences it. Ideology demands it. Society exacts it. " (Tanner 3)

Oral History - a Short Story of Nadine Gordimer

The short stories of Nadine Gordimer are known and appreciated for the artistic and touching exhibition of the problems and compromises faced by the racially marginalized people of South Africa. "Oral History" is one such story which figures in the collection A Soldier's Embrace.

The story, as the very title suggests, projects the point of view of black Africans whose oral history it seems to relate. It has the privilege of being one of the seven short stories filmed in 1982 to be broadcast on television.

The story is an explicit criticism of apartheid and it reveals how racial segregation can corrupt the "superior race" and victimize the "inferior" one. Probably what leaves the readers ill at ease after going through the whole story is their realization that the story is truth, not fiction. The story, which is the last one in the collection, 'has preserved and concentrated its strength and is capable of releasing it even after a long time'. (Seyhan 41)

Suggestive Title

As the very title suggests, the story actually recreates the history of South Africa. Gordimer has carefully used the word 'oral' in the title to suggest that it is not one story but the whole experience undergone and shared by the tribal people generation after generation in Africa. The title "Oral History" also suggests a branch of study in history, where it not only refers to folklore, gossip, hear-say or rumor, but is defined by historian Donald A. Ritchie as a systematic documentation 'to uncover the past and preserve it for the future.' He suggests that,

"Oral history derives its value not from resisting the unexpected, but from relishing it. By adding an ever wider range of voices to the story,oral history does not simplify the historical narrative but makes it more complex and more interesting." (Ritchi 13)

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Call for Papers for a Language in India Special Volume on
Autobiography and Biography in Indian Writing in English
| Call for Papers for a Special Volume on Indian Writing in English - Analysis of Select Novels of 2009-2010 | Hoping Against Hope: A Discourse on Perumal Murugan's Koolla Madari (Seasons of the Palm) | Ghanaian English: Spelling Pronunciation in Focus | The Relationship between Gaining Mastery on 'Content' (School Subject Matters) and 'Linguistic Competence Level in Second Language' through Immersion Program | Reader-centric and Text-centric Approaches to Novel - A Study of Intertextuality in Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence | Which One Speaks Better? The Field-Dependent or the Field-Independent? On the Effects of Field-Dependent/Field-Independent Cognitive Styles and Gender on Iranian EFL Learners' Speaking Performance | A Critical Look into Basic Assumptions of Teaching English as an International Language (EIL) | Digital Storytelling - A Case Study on the Teaching of Speaking to Indonesian EFL Students | The Reasons behind Writing Problems for Jordanian Secondary Students 2010-2011 | A Multidimensional Approach to Cross-Cultural Communication | A Study to Identify Problems Faced by the Heads of Secondary Schools in Kohat in North-Western Frontier Province, Pakistan | Go Beyond Education to Professionalism - Transition from Campus to Corporate | Impact of Students' Attitudes on their Achievement in English - A Study in the Yemeni Context - A Master's Degree Dissertation in TESL | Natural and Supernatural Elements in Arun Joshi's The City and the River | Pedagogical Values Obtained from a Language Class in an EFL Context - A Case Study from Indonesia | A New Tone in ELT - Positive Uses of Translation in Remedial Teaching and Learning | Training Dilemma: Analysis of Positive/Negative Feedback from the Workplace Setting in Pakistan | Learning Styles and Teaching Strategies: Creating a Balance | A Study on Evaluating the Discourse Skills of Engineering Students in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India | Syntax and Semantics Interface of Verbs | History Revisited in Oral History by Nadine Gordimer | Provision for Linguistic Diversity and Linguistic Minorities in India - A Masters Dissertation in Applied Linguistics and ELT | A Speech Act Analysis of Jane Eyre | Matriarchal and Mythical Healing in Gloria Naylor's Mama Day | Impact of Project Based Method on Performance of Students | Computer: A Device for Learning English Language - A Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages | Mobile Phone Culture and its Psychological Impacts on Students' Learning at the University Level | Review of English and Soft Skills by S. P. Dhanavel (Orient BlackSwan, Hyderabad, 2010) | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF FEBRUARY, 2011 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT. This document is better viewed if you open it online and then save it in your computer. After saving it in your computer, you can easily read all the pages from the saved document. | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Gulab Singh, Ph.D.
Department of English
B P S W University
Khanpur Kalan
Sonipat - 131001
Haryana, India

Divija Kumari, M.A.
Department of English
Government College
Adampur 125051
Haryana, India

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