The Dagga Smoker's Dream Analysis

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In both Rive’s The Dagga-smoker’s Dream and Gqola’s Clarity of a Third Class Compartment the narrative perspectives have a significant effect on the reader’s interpretation and experience of their stories. This effect will be explored by comparing and contrasting the events in these stories and how the narrative perspective influenced how they are understood.
Narrative perspective can also be called focalisation as it is concerned with the question of who is seeing or perceiving (Grunbaum 3). In Rive’s story the narrator is a man, Karel, an active participator in the story while in Gqola’s story the narrator is an unnamed woman who never truly acts out. The difference in gender of the characters as well as their roles in the stories’ plot
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The narrator in The Dagga-smoker’s Dream is the culprit telling the reader about how he horrifically and for unknown reasons to himself kicked Honey, who the reader can assume to be his girlfriend, “insensible” and how he then proceeded to harass another girl on the train, for entertainment’s sake, to the point that she had to leave the compartment (Rive 127). This is a very negative and destructive narrative, without any solution to the issues raised like racism, domestic violence and poverty. Meanwhile in Clarity of a Third Class Compartment the narrator’s emotions range from irritation at the filth and crowds of the train station, fear of the gang, embarrassment of her cowardice, relief for the girls safety and finally to optimism that “things are really not as bad as they sometimes seem” (Gqola 94). A story ending in a positive and hopeful way, knowing that the evils as in The Dagga-smoker’s Dream do exist but that no greater force for unity exists than a common enemy. As a unit people can stand up against the difficulties of society. She also saw the smaller things in her day that made her happy and the last word is “okay”,
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