Follow Us on Facebook. Although Mehring is not a comfortable protagonist--he is not a people person and at one point chants "My possessions are enough for me" or something to that effect , which could make him a materialist caricature--by the This is what a Nobel Prize winner reads like. William, usually just a fixture on the wall, comes to life and argues excitedly with the man. Even so, The Conservationist must be seen as an outsider at best.
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This interest is systematic of what Gordimer intends the novel to represent on a macrocosmic level. View the Study Pack.
The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer
No one knows who he is or how he died. Not caring who committed the murder of a black man, the police bury the man near where he has been found. And while Apartheid is dead, racial segregation is a thing of the past, and questioning of gender roles is becoming more widespread, The Conservationist still has power and social relevance. At times boorish and misogynistic, Mehring is absolutely opposed to any changes in the status quo of apartheid South African political organisation and attempts to keep everything on his farm running smoothly by keeping firm control over his Black workforce.
A few portentous three or four word paragraphs stick out from the smoothness of the rest of the writing like proverbial sore thumbs: Two men come out at him as he lays with the woman.
I was enthralled, absolutely enthralled. Jul 24, Jayne Charles rated it it was ok. I got to page 44 out of His wife has left him and gone to New York, his son who has funny ideas about overturning the natural order has gone to join her, I finished this while in hospital recently. Since the dead man is black, the police find no urgency to look into the case and simply bury the body on the spot where it was found. Unfortunatlely, this particular book felt dated to me.
Mehring bought his farm because owning land is something a person of his race and class should do; the farm would be an investment, and it also could be a place for amorous escapades. He also cares about his farm, but the weather and other disasters challenge his idealized vision of what it could be.
When one white farmer tells a black worker about the actions of another white farmer by referring to him as "this master", the phrase explodes like a bomb.
He talks with Jacobus about the dead man as they review farm tasks. Peace, Happiness and Justice? Not all his character traits hte negative; he does seem to care about the land, his insecurities and loneliness are laid bare for us, and at times he pities or even identifies with the powerless.
The Conservationist Summary & Study Guide
Our attachment to Mehring is due mostly to Gordimer's writing style, which is spare in structure and dense in content. Shortly after book opens on Mehring's country farm, twenty-five miles outside Johannesburg, the corpse of a black man is discovered by the river.
Mehring remembers a plane ride when he is forced to ride coach and sits next to a teenage girl. There is something dead and hidden on his land, which he manages to ignore. There are no chapter numbers or chapter headings, and most strikingly, conservafionist quotation marks or speaker tags to indicate and clarify dialogue.
She does a great job showing the awkward relationship between Mehring and his black workers. Oppression will not win out forever. Gordimer comes off almost as this Eastern European or French writer who somehow wound cknservationist in the terrain of South Africa. See 1 question about The Conservationist…. We see a loveless, thoughtless bigot and sexual predator. He walks the river and feels good. If you've read Mantel's Wolf Hallyou know there's a bit of adjustment at first once you realize "he" almost always refers to Cromwell because you're inside his head.
The Conservationist Summary & Study Guide
Feb 24, Pages. Arguably because - as a book inextricably tied up with apartheid - it's lost some of its political urgency.
The local authorities simply bury the man where he is, promising to collect the body later and investigate. To ask other readers questions about The Conservationistplease sign up.