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Word Count: 5,270
South African writer Alex La Guma was an active member of his countrys non-white liberation movement One of the 156 people accused in the Treason Trial of 1956 La Guma wrote his first book A Walk in the Night and Other Stories in 1962 Wade 15 The Lemon Orchard a story which appeared in this debut work is a gripping piece about the horror and cruelty of racism In the story La Guma describes in chilling detail how a black teacher who had sought legal redress for being beaten up by his principal and church minister is roused from his sleep and led to a lemon orchard by four white men for whipping At the beginning of the story the moon is hidden behind long high parallels of cloud La Guma 15 La Guma is apparently suggesting that the moon representing Nature does not wish to witness what will occur since it hides itself behind clouds and shows its disapproval by refusing to cast its light on the men However the story ends with Nature mirroring even anticipating the violence that will happen For instance the trees have angled branches with tips and edges which gleam with the quivering shine of scattered quicksilver 19 In addition the moon comes out from behind the banks of cloud 19 Words such as angled branches tips and edges as well as gleamed conjure up an image of shiny metallic weapons such as knives or arrows associated with violence and death The word quivering and the moons emergence also suggest that Nature is waiting with bated breath for the impending beating La Gumas depiction of Nature condoning the beating since it mirrors and anticipates the imminent violence raises interesting questions For one the ending is undoubtedly anti-climatic since readers are led to expect a whipping which is not described Given that La Guma has painstakingly built up readers expectations of the looming violence why does he conclude his story
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