From the Archives of The New York Times
ANOTHER REVIEW OF 'HOUSE GUN':
''Ms. Gordimer's latest novel, 'The House Gun,' suggests -- as her 1994 novel 'None to Accompany Me' did -- that she has yet to come to terms, artistically, with the dismantling of apartheid and her country's drastically altered social landscape. Her descriptions of the political scene in 'Accompany Me' felt oddly generic and contrived, and her efforts to grapple with post-apartheid realities in 'The House Gun' are often equally forced.''
NEWS AND ESSAYS:
Gordimer considers the difficulties of writing under the apartheid system in South Africa. In addition to the outright censorship of many works, South African writers are also confined by the narrowness of their perspective in a rigidly segregated society.
Gordimer explains that the South African resettlement of blacks is not a benign policy meant to clear out slums or improve economic efficiency, as its defenders claim. Comparing resettlement to Jim Crow laws in the U.S., Gordimer examines the conditions of resettlement camps and the effects they have on South African society.
Gordimer describes rioting that left 140 dead in South Africa. The riots were in response to a government order to teach classes in the Afrikaans language.
Gordimer's book ''Burger's Daughter'' was declared ''undesirable'' under South Africa's Publications Act and banned.
Gordimer joined the steering committee of the Anti-Censorship Action Group, which formed to confront South Africa's restrictive laws against free expression.
Gordimer defends Salman Rushdie's novel ''Satanic Verses'' against the forces of worldwide censorship. She describes an incident in Johannesburg in which pressure from Muslim groups caused a planned visit by Rushdie to be cancelled and his book to be banned.
In awarding the Prize, the Swedish Academy said that Gordimer's work has ''been of very great benefit to humanity.'' Passed over several times before, Gordimer became the first woman in 25 years to win the Nobel Prize in literature.
Michiko Kakutani chronicles the life and work of Nadine Gordimer.
''[Gordimer] writes with discipline and moderation, unusual for so young an author; she avoids extremes of both subject-matter and method. Concerned with suggesting the essence of personality, she avoids the excesses of psychoanalytic writers. She possesses considerable social awareness, but only one or two of her stories become blatant social protests.''
''['The Lying Days'] is exciting above all because its author is still in her twenties, and her book is in many respects as mature, as packed with insight into human nature, as void of conceit and banality, as original and as beautifully written as a novel by Virginia Woolf. This name springs to one's mind because Miss Gordimer is a writer who can not only capture but express in the lives of human beings those moments which are so fleeting, so impalpable, as well as so common that they are overlooked by all but a very rare artist. I can think of no modern first 'novel' superior to Miss Gordimer's''
''The reader in search of melodrama is advised to look elsewhere; as readers of Miss Gordimer's short stories will know, her most memorable effects are achieved by other means. When she wishes, she can mystify and terrify in a phrase--or create a tableau of misery that lingers. Here though she never labors the point, she convinces us that the very lives of the white residents of this scornful, deeply insulated community are hanging by the thinnest of threads. True, the thread will not snap tomorrow, or the day after--but the fraying is unmistakable.''
''The cooly controlled fury of Nadine Gordimer's storytelling stands out in this new collection. It is Miss Gordimer's best book. Not many authors in her field accomplish what she sets out to do with so much force and grace. Her aim is nothing less than to advance the amenities of civilization.''
''My own knowledge of South Africa is limited, partly because I've been barred from entering the country for writing a fairly lightweight article. But when I showed this novel to a South African exile, the son of an imprisoned African leader, it made him unhappy. He feels, and his views are both considered and important, that he book shows very little real knowledge of the resistance movement, is inaccurate about the South African Communist party and is composed of 'European scenes with South African peculiarities imposed on them.' ''
'' 'A Guest of Honor' is a perceptive and a persuasive political novel that has the challenge and inevitability of history itself. It is political in that the major figures think and act in the light of their politics... Our sympathy for her people is directly proportional to the appeal of their arguments. There are no deliberate scoundrels in it, only powerful truths testing to see whether their hour is come.''
''['Burger's Daughter'] is Miss Gordimer's most political and most moving novel, going to the heart of the racial conflict in South Africa. But it does not deal publicly with riots, tortures or crusades: Its politics come out of its characters, as part of the wholeness of lives that cannot evade them.''
''Nobody else writes about contemporary Africa as well as Nadine Gordimer does. Most outsiders bring to Africa an imported rhetoric, and most insiders have a rhetoric to export. She, almost alone, achieves what Saul Bellow called 'the esthetic consumption of the environment.' Her Africa does not disappear into metaphors: in her books, metaphors disappear into Africa, like the early explorers and missionaries.''
'' 'July's People' is Nadine Gordimer's projection of what it will be like if or when the time comes for the whites to leave Johannesburg. And since she writes more knowingly about South Africa than anyone else, this may be history in the making that we are reading. ''
''This quality of subversion, this deliberate use of banality in order to disturb, is what sets Miss Gordimer's version of the Beast myth apart. The pulp fiction and cinema that exploit this theme usually offer no more than an enjoyable scare, a sanitized frisson; they actually reassure us while pretending to terrify. 'Something Out There' concentrates, by contrast, on the minutiae of the real world. The art lies in the refusal of all exaggeration, all hyperbole. From this refusal springs the story's authority, its unsettling menace.''
'' 'A Sport of Nature' is fully a novel, grand-scale, rich and demanding, but it is also a thoughtfully documented history of postcolonial African nations and a consoling fantasy of what could, what might emerge out of the prolonged suffering we witness in our time.''
''[Gordimer] has had a keen eye for the exceedingly precarious moral situation of her own kind - the privileged white intelligentsia that abhors apartheid, detests the exploitation of 25 million unfranchised, economically vulnerable citizens at the hands of five million people who, so far, have had a powerful modern army at their disposal, not to mention the wealth of a vigorous, advanced capitalist society.''
''[Gordimer] is a master of realistic narrative, the slow, patient accumulation of evidence. But she pushes beyond that mode in 'Jump' to mythlike fable ('Teraloyna'), impressionistic prose poem ('My Father Leaves Home'), ironic fairy tale ("Once Upon a Time") and an improvisation that might have been generated by an exercise in a creative writing class ('A Journey').''
''Whereas earlier books like 'July's People,' a 1981 novel that created a fiercely surreal portrait of a post-revolutionary South Africa, have combined Ms. Gordimer's skills as a social observer with her imaginative gifts as a fiction writer, the attempt in these pages to render a more realistic post-apartheid South Africa frequently feels pat and contrived.''
...English II Pre – AP Ms. Smith 2 May 2014 Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” Analysis Many of Ray Bradbury’s novels tend to focus around the idea that humans downfall will be due to the increased attention to technology and machines are incapable of human emotion. Unlike most short stories, “There Will Come Soft Rains” does not have any human characters. It is just an automated house. The house performs a routine, similar to a human’s. It makes pancakes, cleans itself, reads poems in the study and more. But for whom? The family that used to live in the house, and the surrounding area, has been wiped out by a nuclear blast. The house does not realize and continues as if nothing is wrong. As the story draws to a close, a tree limb breaks through a window, beginning a chain reaction and starts a fire inside the house. The house desperately tries to save itself, but fails. Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” presents many themes, including that human values are becoming lost, arguing that people cannot control their outcome; however, the greatest truth presented is that nature will live on without humans and humanity. Throughout the short story, the idea that human values are becoming lost is prominent. Human feelings, such as sorrow and joy, are only possessed by humans. At the beginning, the only surviving member of the family, the dog, walks...