South Africa as a Result of Apartheid in the Film A Dry White Season Essay

South Africa as a Result of Apartheid in the Film A Dry White Season Essay

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South Africa as a Result of Apartheid in the Film A Dry White Season

“Brink reaches for that unexpected potent strand of Afrikaner thought: an almost religious repugnance toward governmental corruption. And by using a ‘very ordinary’ Afrikaner as victim, Brink proclaims that no one in South Africa is any longer safe (Redman 5).” Andre Brink’s powerful novel, A Dry White Season, was made into a film directed by Euzhan Palcy about ten years after it was written. Euzhan Palcy did an excellent job directing her film, which was intended to open the world’s eyes to the injustices being committed in South Africa as a result of the apartheid, and it is successful in doing so. However, it fails to reach out to the reader, as does Andre Brink’s novel on which it was based. The movie omits many characters and actions that take place in the book in its attempt to expose the political struggle in South Africa. But what it lacks is the personal struggle that is the main focus of the novel. The novel uses this strategy of personalizing the main character’s situation to involve the reader further than the film does- to the point that it leaves the horrible situation in the reader’s hands- both literally and figuratively. The reader must decide what to do with what has fallen into his or her lap.
The plot of A Dry White Season follows the life of Ben Du Toit for about a year and a half. Ben is a white history teacher living in South Africa during its apartheid, whose eyes are opened through the struggle of his gardener’s family. His gardener, a black man named Gordon Ngubene, comes to him after his son is beaten and Ben half-heartedly tries to help as Gordon’s son Jonathan is taken into custody by the Special Police, tortured, kil...

... middle of paper ...

...ays autobiographical, and almost surely many of his explorations into the moral aspects of what Ben was attempting to do were ways of addressing his own questions and insecurities about his personal choices. It is clear that the film does not reach out to the reader in the same way as the book. The movie fails to explore the simple human morality that is much of a part of the book, and the efforts made to address this subject barely scratch the surface. It leaves the reader with a moral obligation to follow the narrator’s footsteps, and poses the ultimate question:
Do we continue resisting injustice and moral corruption even when resistance seems futile, or do we capitulate and become silent accomplices? Mr. Brink argues persuasively that the answer is ineluctable. One acts, one protests, or one simply forfeits humanity (Watkins 21).


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