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"A Drink in the Passage"


By: Alan Paton

Time and Place of setting

South Africa 1960

How does the story start as a reflection

Starts with Simelane and Alan Paton (the author)

In what personis the story told and by whom

Moves into the story told from 1st person pt. of view (Simelane's)

What is the final reflection

Returns back to conversation with Paton...where Simelane asks Paton to tell the story in hopes that it could change attitudes & encourage blending of cultures & friendship

Edward Simelane

sculptor, wins 1st prize for "African Mother & Child", he was African American, sculpture touched the hearts of white South Africa, "a sculptor, not a demonstrator"

Van Rensburg

admires the sculpture on display, unwittingly meets Simelane without knowing it, and then when he realizes, he can't formally greet him, white community member who isn't prejudiced, he genuinely likes Simelane & sees him as equal, very talented

5 Themes in this story

Racism, frienship, fear, integrity, compassion

The sculpture: "African Mother & Child" - universal theme as a symbol

feelings of mother for child in any culture

the sculpture is symbolic to Van Rensburg as

something almost religious/spiritual, it's so beautiful to him, he feels that God must be a part of the sculptor's life

"Whites Only" signs symbolizes

blatant racism of that time

Simelane, irony

Simelane wins 1st prize but can't personally accept the offer, it is a segregated it an oversight that he won?

Rensburg, irony

Van Rensburg admires the sculptor & wants to meet him to express his feelings about the sculpture...he's been talking to him the whole time

Man vs. man

Simelane vs. the white community in attending the ceremony

Man vs. self

Van Rensburg vs. self...he wants to be friends with Simelane, wants to shake his hand, but is restricted by rules of culture

Man vs. nature

Simelane & Van Rensburg vs. racism...Simelane needs to catch the train, he CANNOT be in the city after curfew, even has to be dropped off at a separate location

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