Literary Analysis Of The Bench, By Richard Rive

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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. Each race is not placed equally in the society. This is how apartheid in South Africa 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
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The story takes place in Johannesburg in South Africa. The story begins at the meeting where we meet the main character, Karlie, who is surprised by the treatment he receives at the meeting. Afterward, when Karlie is on his way home the setting changes, as Karlie decides to fight against the system and apartheid by sitting on a bench for Europeans only. Given the time when the story was published, we can assume that the author, Richard Rive, does not agree with the apartheid system. Based on the fact, that the story is written in 1963, we can conclude that the story is taking place in the middle of apartheid. The story is interesting for us to read because it represents a whole different world; a world that is not that old. This story could easily be real and represent a real-life…show more content…
The language includes some South African dialects such as “baas” and “jong”. This can be seen on page 82, line 6-8: “Ou Klaas said that God made the white man and the black man separately, and the one must always be “baas” and the other “jong.” The word “baas” means a person in a position of authority in relation to nonwhites and the word “jong” means a friend. The language is particularly great because it has a great use of figurative language, which gives us an inner image of the situation. An example of this is seen on page 82, line 10: “Karlie’s brow was knitted as he thought.” – this is a typical sentence, but what makes it interesting is that it does not have to be in the text. It is not necessary for the author to tell us that Karlie’s brow was knitted, but the author chooses to tell us anyway. I believe that the author chooses to use descriptive sentences to improve our understanding, but also to give us a clear image of the whole situation and describe emotions. When we read this text, we are able to imagine ourselves in the exact same situation, which makes the story
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