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July's People > Week 3

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 304 comments Week 3: chapters 13- 16


message 2: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments So who is Maureen? On one level she's trying to keep her children to safe/sanitary/former practices and on another level she despises herself for trying to keep her children different from all the other children. On one level she is appalled to see her children running in and out with their friends - and then she is even more appalled at herself for thinking that.


message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 304 comments Hoping to get here today, been busy this week getting my masters proposal in (in between no electricity).


message 4: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 126 comments I'm trying to figure out where they go to next. Maureen and July realise that there is no going "back" to a previous life here.

Based on the information, they are somewhere in the north east of South Africa. Gordimer mentions that ancient people walked on that earth. It may refer to Kingdom of Mapungubwe which existed in the area about 1000 years ago. The little gold rhino found at the site is one of South Africa's best known symbols. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_...

The geographic problem that they face is that to the east lies the Kruger National Park which contains real African animals - this far north is elephant territory and they do not have the necessary heavy guns to cross it easily. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kruger_N.... If they do get across it, they will end up in Mozambique which was in the middle of its own civil war and rural areas were heavily mined. They are still removing landmines 15 years after the end of the war.

To the north, they would have to cross the border into Zimbabwe. In those days there would be a risk of land mines which were planted by activists on the South African side of the border. Other than that they would have to get across the Zambezi river and then find some sympathetic Zimbabweans in post independence Zimbabwe. The river can be crossed as has been proven by the thousands of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants currently resident in South Africa.

All of this was possible and there were existing networks of black and white anti-apartheid activists in those countries, but the Smales would not know how to access it given their apparent lack of involvement in those kind of activities. Ideally they should have been further west where it would be possible to get into Botswana which would have been a much easier option.


message 5: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 304 comments What do you actually hope for in such a situation? They listen to the radio when they can but for what exactly? Existence is colored by futility. There is no forward & no way back.

Maureen surprises me often, she is pushing to survive, yet recognizes how helpless she is. She's angry with Bam & with herself. Her husband is a veritable stranger and her children seem to take things in stride. The kittens in the previous chapter were interesting. Did Maureen drown them because they were flee AG menaces? Or was the drowning an act of compassion? Did she drown the, to save them from a miserable and terrifying existence? Would death be easier than this new life and all of its uncertainties?

Bam seems to be disintegrating, he has no power & meaning here. Of surprise to them both is how little they know July, how much they have assumed. How wrongfully they have actually treated him.


message 6: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new)

Anastasia Kinderman | 660 comments Mod
Lisa wrote: "The kittens in the previous chapter were interesting. Did Maureen drown them because they were flee AG menaces? Or was the drowning an act of compassion? Did she drown the, to save them from a miserable and terrifying existence? Would death be easier than this new life and all of its uncertainties?"

I got the impression she was kind of detached and that she did it because otherwise they would eat food or take up space or something along those lines. For whatever reason she felt it had to be done and she does it herself instead of expecting one of the village women to do it for her.


message 7: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 304 comments I keep thinking that Maureen is resilient and wondering how much more she can take.


message 8: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 304 comments Meeting a chief as is important as meeting a mayor or someone in government. Depending on the standing of that chief.


message 9: by ☯Emily , The First (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1227 comments Mod
I certainly enjoyed the parts that describe Bam more than Maureen. He is easier to understand. It was interesting to see Bam convinced he would be told to leave July's hut, but then it didn't happen.


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