Characterization And Setting In La Guma's The Lemon Orchard

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The Lemon Orchard is an allegory of apartheid condensed down into a short story, where a coloured man is captured by four white men, who force him to journey through an orchard where they abuse and kill him

La Guma has created character within this passage through indirect characterization and setting through descriptive language and by presenting details about the time and place.

Structurally, The Lemon Orchard is divided into thirteen paragraphs that correspond to particular stages of the plot. The first and second paragraphs introduce the characters and establish the setting with long sentences; this is followed by the disjunction in the third paragraph. The tension is at its height in paragraphs eight where the dramatic conflict occurs to the rising action in paragraphs eleven and twelve, and then closes with a suspenseful ending.

In the exposition the setting is introduced by the author describing the weather and natural surroundings. He uses the semantic field such as “chill”, “cold” and “damp” to create the dismal wintry setting of the story and as a result he sets the mood of the story before one reads it. Through descriptive language La Guma refers to the exact time of the story. “The night” is a setting for crisis and the first image he presents is the moon that watches over the action of his lemon orchard but
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The conversion from a “regular row of trees” to “an orchard” makes the reader fully aware of where the action takes place. He draws on gustatory imagery to present an extended description of the setting with the oxymoron “bitter sweet”. These words juxtaposed together express the analogy between the orchard and the coloured man’s situation. This setting displays how something vile as racism can take place anywhere, even in a pleasant place associated with the summer like an
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