Literary Analysis Of The Bench By Richard Rive

1215 Words5 Pages
Literary analysis of “The Bench” by Richard Rive
Each race has their own place to be. The only problem is; they do not get to decide where to be or not to be. “You can sit here, but you cannot sit there.” Each race is not placed equally in the society. This is how apartheid is explained. Your whole life revolves around your race and there is literally nothing you can do to improve your situation. The story “The Bench” follows significant themes such as racial segregation, racism in general, discrimination and an average day during apartheid in South Africa.

The story “The Bench” by Richard Rive follows Karlie, who is a colored male listening to a speech that changes his life. Karlie is standing in a crowd and listening to a black speaker who is proclaiming the rights of the black people. A white woman also holds a speech. He is impressed by what the speaker is saying because, for Karlie, it seems to be the first time he has even considered the possibility of having any rights. Based on what he hears in the speech, he decides to sit on a bench for Europeans only. The people around Karlie have different perspectives on whether he has the right to sit on the bench or not. At the end of the story, Karlie is arrested by the police.

“The Bench” was published in 1963, which is the time where apartheid was a part of the everyday life for all South Africans. The story takes place in November in a city called Johannesburg, which is a city placed in South Africa. We start out at the
Open Document