What is a theme you ask? The theme is the message or what can be taken away from the story and reflected on in one’s real life. Even if it is seemingly insignificant, superficial, or elusive. It’s all part of life. “Every story narrows a broad underlying idea, shapes it in a unique way, and makes the underlying idea concrete. That’s how theme is created. In other words, the theme in a story is a representation of the idea behind the story.”(Clugston, 2010) The story I want to explore more is Country Lovers, the theme in this story is love and racism, two literary elements in the story county lovers that that contribute to the theme is the stories plot and character. Plot and character are just some elements that affect the narrative theme, now I will go into greater detail and explain the theme in Country Lovers.
The story Country Lovers is a story of forbidden love between a black woman—Thebedi and Paulus, the son of her white masters. It was a story of a love that bore out of childhood romance that blossomed to adulthood until the harmless flirtation lead to sexual curiosity. Eventually, Thebedi got pregnant with his child without him knowing it. When he left for college and did go back, he found out that Thebedi was already married to Njabulo. Njabulo accepted the child as his own but Paulus overcome with fear upon discovering the child took matters to his own hand. The very next day, the child mysteriously died (as cited in Clugston, 2010, pp. 44-50). This story is very racy because of the intensity and the scandalous nature of the topic. Because of the heightened sense of racial prejudice during the early 1900s, a forbidden romance, an interracial romance is considered social taboo. And to even consider writing a literature that centers on this topic is truly fascinating and attention-grabbing to any reader .
The short stories plot on the other hand gives the readers an insight into the problems that can be encountered in life when we refuse to acknowledge and respect ethnic diversity in our community. It leads to hatred, and despise where one race sees they to be more superior to the other. The apparent minority race acts as servants and slaves working for the apparent superior race. The end result is that there is disharmony in the community. By embracing racial diversity the community would not have had a problem with Thebedi and Paulus marrying and having a child of mixed race. However, this was not the case and the consequences were tragic. The plot I think helped form the theme in this story which was very emotional.
The stories Characters also tied the theme together the Character Thebedi experienced first for being black, second for being a woman. As black, Thebedi is forbidden to have a relationship with a white male, thus “He told her, each time, when they would meet again” because they cannot be seen in public together (Clugston, 2010, p. 45). It was through these secret rendezvous that their forbidden sexual encounters took place. Thebedi and Paulus were not able to express their love publicly and as they grew older their love drifted and was replaced with the racial discrimination mentality and aspect they lacked when they were young innocent and genuinely in love. The pressure by the community not to have any interaction s between the two races led to Thebedi being married to another man and Paulus killing his own child due to the fact that he was interracial.( Miruka, S. 2000 )
In conclusion, Country Lovers theme is a very emotional, a story about a forbidden love and the two literary elements that helped make the story was the plot and characters, these two elements brought life to the theme like a beat to a heart, the story was very moving and all the literature elements came together perfectly and when I read the story the theme stood out perfectly.
Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into literature. San Diego, California:
Bridgepoint Education, Inc
Miruka, S. (2000). Notes on Short stories. East African Publishers