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Tag: a story of an african farm

a story of an african farm

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What is the setting of the story of an African farm?

The Story of an African Farm. The Story of an African Farm. A novel set in South Africa during the 1850s and 1860s; published in English in 1883. Three children living on a remote farm in nineteenth-century South Africa grow up to meet very different fates.

Who is the author of the story of an African farm?

Olive Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm grows out of that new movement, along with G. H. Close’s The Rose of Rietfontain: A South African Pastoral Romance (1882) and A. P. B.’s Rochdale: South African Story of Country Life (1885).

Why did Olive Schreiner write the story of an African farm?

The Story of an African Farm is a bildungsroman, or coming-of-age novel, by Olive Schreiner. Considered one of the first feminist novels, Schreiner published it under the pen name Ralph Iron to evade criticism or dismissal on the basis of her gender.

What is the theme of the story of an African farm?

During the 1860s, the period during which The Story of an African Farm takes place, “woman worship” was a common practice. Victorians idealized the selfless wife who devoted her energies to making her home a haven for her more worldly husband and provided him with a source of “moral inspiration” (Houghton, p. 350).

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Olive Schreiner (1855-1920) was a South African author, anti-war campaigner and intellectual.

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What are the three groups in African Farm?

Itala Vivan observes that “Schreiner places Africans in three groups: Kaffirs, Hottentots, and Bushmen… . [B]y ’Kaffirs’ Schreiner means the Bantu people, by ’Hottentots’ the KhoiKhoi [sic], and by ‘Bushmen’ the San people” (Vivan, p. 104). The novel’s picture, Vivan confirms, is both historically and anthropologically accurate, since all three groups were living in the Cape area at the time. The whites’ attitudes towards the indigenous peoples are likewise authentic. For example, only Tant’ Sannie’s “yellow Hottentot maid” is permitted, along with her husband, to attend Sunday services in the farm-house: “The Kaffir servants were not there because Tant’ Sannie held they were descended from apes and needed no salvation” ( African Farm, p. 69). Even the adult Lyndall, whom Schreiner depicts as intellectual and enlightened, reveals some condescension when she comments upon a handsome Kaffir she glimpses from a distance: “There is something of the master about him in spite of his blackness and wool” ( African Farm, p. 227).

What is the relationship between Tant’s Sannie and the two English girls?

In The Story of an African Farm, the hostility between British and Afrikaner is illustrated by the uneasy relationship between Tant’ Sannie and the two English girls who are her wards. Passive, compliant Em has little to say about her Afrikaner stepmother, but Em’s cousin Lyndall despises the “miserable old woman” as ignorant and superstitious, pointing out: “Your father married her when he was dying, because he thought she would take better care of the farm, and us, than an Englishwoman. He said we should be taught and sent to school. Now she saves every farthing for herself…. She does not ill-use us—why? Because she is afraid of your father’s ghost” (Schreiner, Story of an African Farm, p. 45). Lyn-dall’s resentment persists into her adulthood. As an adult she mocks Tant’ Sannie’s practice of marrying husband after husband, and although she attends her wedding to the much younger Piet Vander Walt, Lyndall remains aloof from the festivities, dressing in black and refusing to dance. One may attribute Lyndall’s reserve as much to British disdain for Afrikaner customs as to personal dislike for Tant’ Sannie. Gregory Rose, the snobbish young Englishman hired as a farmhand, is even more supercilious, declaring at the reception, “These Boer [Afrikaner] dances are very low things” ( African Farm, p. 213).

How old are Em and Lyndall in 1862?

The year 1862 brings drought and hardship. As the water sinks in the dams, many of the livestock die. That summer Em and Lyndall—now 12 years old—plan their futures. Em contemplates marriage after she turns 17, when the farm, which belonged to her late father, passes to her. But Lyndall intends to go to school. The girls’ conversation is interrupted by 14-year-old Waldo, who brings news that an “English stranger”—Bonaparte Blenkins—has arrived.

What is Waldo’s second half about?

The second half of the novel begins three years later. After weathering various spiritual crises, Waldo takes consolation in nature itself. One summer day, he is carving a grave-post for his father. Em, now 16, brings him lunch and excitedly informs him that an Englishman whom Tant’ Sannie has hired to work on the farm is approaching on horseback. Favorably impressed by the stranger’s looks and youth, Em hopes that he is bringing letters from Lyndall, who has been in school for several years now.

What does Waldo say about the stranger?

The stranger offers to buy the carving but Waldo refuses to sell, explaining that it is for his father’s grave. When the stranger identifies himself as “a man who believes nothing, hopes nothing, fears nothing, feels nothing, ” Waldo is excited to find someone who thinks as he does ( African Farm, p. 159). He awkwardly tries to explain the human and animal figures on his carving. The stranger reveals his understanding by relating an allegorical tale of a hunter who must abandon all superstitions, travel through the Land of Absolute Negation and Denial, and climb the mountains of stern reality in search of the snow-white bird, Truth. After years of unsuccessful toil, in his last moments he realizes, “Where I lie down worn out other men will stand, young and fresh. By the steps that I have cut they will climb…. They will find her [Truth] and through me! And no man liveth to himself and no man dieth to himself” ( African Farm, p. 168). Then, just as death approaches, a single white feather from Truth drops from the sky onto the hunter’s breast and he dies holding it. Profoundly moved by the stranger’s understanding, Waldo declares, “All my life I have longed to see you” ( African Farm, p. 171). The stranger proceeds to listen closely to the story of Waldo’s life, then urges him to stay on the farm and resist the temptations of the outside world until he is certain of his path in life. After giving Waldo a much-handled book whose tenets “may give you a centre round which to hang your ideas, instead of letting them lie about in a confusion,” the stranger takes his leave ( African Farm, p. 172). Waldo ties his carving to the stranger’s saddle before the stranger rides off. They part with a handshake and the hope of meeting again someday.

Where did Olive Schreiner live?

As a young woman of 17, Olive Schreiner actually lived in the diamond fields at New Rush—later the town of Kim berley—for ten months while visiting her older siblings, Theo and Ettie. The family resided in a tent, like many people at the fields, while Theo worked as a digger, but he found no large diamonds to make their fortune. Schreiner, however, was intrigued and inspired by the bustling atmosphere of the camps and began writing stories about diamonds, though these works were never published. Several characters in The Story of an African Farm reveal a similar enthusiasm for the gems. As a child, Lyndall boasts that when she grows up, she will be very rich and wear real diamonds in her hair. When Lyndall returns to the farm as a young woman, Em notices “a massive [diamond] ring upon her forefinger” ( African Farm, p. 184).

How did Gregory disguise himself as a woman?

After hearing this news, Gregory disguised himself as a woman, shaving his beard and dressing in female clothing. He then offered his services to the landlady as a nurse for the dying woman. On being shown to her bedroom, Gregory was grief-stricken to see Lyndall in such a sorry state. He nursed her tenderly and never revealed his identity. A letter arrived from Lyndall’s lover begging her to marry him, but still she refused. During her last days, Lyndall asked to be taken outside to the blue mountain she glimpsed across the plain. Gregory carried her down to a wagon and drove her out to the mountain, where Lyndall regained her faculties long enough to accept her fate.

What happens when Lyndall returns?

When Lyndall returns, she is a different person . Waldo finds that he cannot talk with her as he did before. She learns the problems a woman faces in the world, and she refuses to be held down by the laws and restrictions that bind her. Neither Em nor Gregory Rose, her fiancé, can understand Lyndall. Gregory dislikes her at first, but he becomes more attracted to her as time passes. At Tant’ Sannie’s wedding feast—for she finds a widower who wants to marry again— Em discovers that she does not really love Gregory, and she asks him to forget the plans they made.

Why does Tant’s Sannie have nothing to do with him?

Tant’ Sannie will have nothing to do with him, because he is English-speaking. The old German intercedes for the visitor, however, and finally wins Tant’ Sannie’s grudging permission for him to spend the night. The German cannot bear to pass up an opportunity to practice Christian charity.

Where do Waldo and Lyndall move?

Waldo and Lyndall finally take their own paths from the farm and move to the Natal and Transvaal areas , with several stops around the way. Lyndall returns to the farm, falls ill, and dies under the stars while fixated on her reflection in a mirror.

What did Waldo learn about Lyndall?

He wants to know what she discovered about the world and to tell her of his own problems. He learned wood carving. One day, while he was watching the sheep, a stranger approached to talk with him. After looking at one of Waldo’s carvings, the traveler told the boy a story of a man who searched for truth but found merely a creed until, just before his death, he caught a glimpse of his goal. The meeting was short but unforgettable. Waldo wants to go out into the world, to find the man again, to learn more about the search for truth.

What is Lyndall’s role in Em?

Em, unlike the other two, seems mainly to absorb and repeat the ideas of authority figures.

Why was Ralph Iron written?

Considered one of the first feminist novels, Schreiner published it under the pen name Ralph Iron to evade criticism or dismissal on the basis of her gender. The novel is set on a South African farm in the mid-nineteenth-century and is split into three sections. The first details the childhoods of its three protagonists, Waldo, Lyndall, and Em.

What is Waldo’s second section about?

The second section centers around Waldo’s increasing disillusionment with the religious dogma he has been allied to all his life. It is structured in non-chronological order and stresses the thematic piling-up of experiences that lead to his atheism. As he questions his religion, he grows apart from his father, a farmer named Otto, who introduced him to Christianity.

Why did Bonaparte Blenkins ride the grey mare?

Bonaparte Blenkins was riding home on the grey mare. He had ridden out that afternoon, partly for the benefit of his health , partly to maintain his character as overseer of the farm. As he rode on slowly, he thoughtfully touched the ears of the grey mare with his whip.

What did Lyndall feel when she climbed into the window?

Lyndall had climbed up into the window, and with her fingers felt the woodwork that surrounded the panes. Slipping down, the girl loosened the iron knob from the foot of the bedstead, and climbing up again she broke with it every pane of glass in the window, beginning at the top and ending at the bottom.

Where did Waldo lay on his stomach?

Waldo lay on his stomach on the red sand. The small ostriches he herded wandered about him, pecking at the food he had cut, or at pebbles and dry sticks. On his right lay the graves; to his left the dam; in his hand was a large wooden post covered with carvings, at which he worked. Doss lay before him basking in the winter sunshine, and now and again casting an expectant glance at the corner of the nearest ostrich camp. The scrubby thorn-trees under which they lay yielded no shade, but none was needed in that glorious June weather, when in the hottest part of the afternoon the sun was but pleasantly warm; and the boy carved on, not looking up, yet conscious of the brown serene earth about him and the intensely blue sky above.

What was Doss’s ear drawn over?

Doss sat among the karoo bushes, one yellow ear drawn over his wicked little eye, ready to flap away any adventurous fly that might settle on his nose. Around him in the morning sunlight fed the sheep; behind him lay his master polishing his machine. He found much comfort in handling it that morning. A dozen philosophical essays, or angelically atuned songs for the consolation of the bereaved, could never have been to him what that little sheep-shearing machine was that day.

Where was Waldo lying in the wagon?

The wagon came on slowly. Waldo laid curled among the sacks at the back of the wagon, the hand in his breast resting on the sheep-shearing machine. It was finished now. The right thought had struck him the day before as he sat, half asleep, watching the water go over the mill-wheel. He muttered to himself with half-closed eyes:

What does each look back at the little track his consciousness illuminates, sees it cut into distinct portions?

To stranger eyes these divisions are not evident; but each, looking back at the little track his consciousness illuminates, sees it cut into distinct portions, whose boundaries are the termination of mental states.

Who sat on the side of the bed?

Bonaparte Blenkins sat on the side of the bed. He had wonderfully revived since the day before, held his head high, talked in a full sonorous voice, and ate greedily of all the viands offered him. At his side was a basin of soup, from which he took a deep draught now and again as he watched the fingers of the German, who sat on the mud floor mending the bottom of a chair.

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Editorial Reviews

Olive Schreiner (1855-1920), was a South African author, pacifist and political activist. Editor Joseph Bristow is a Lecturer in Victorian Studies, University of York. –This text refers to the paperback edition.

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