Nadine Gordimer and the Representation of White South-African Liberalism Open Access

Russ, Jennifer (Spring 2020)

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Although scholars have written widely about Nadine Gordimer’s work, very little has been written actively comparing two of her best-known novels, Burger’s Daughter and July’s People. However, in comparing the two novels there is a clear connection between the two white main characters, Rosa Burger and Maureen Smales respectively. Both women represent a major flaw in white liberalism, the hypocrisy of professing liberal ideals while simultaneously maintaining South African racism, although both women are unaware of this hypocrisy throughout much of the novels. As both women begin to understand their own racial complicity, they also begin to hate themselves, allowing Nadine Gordimer to critique white liberalism through their fictional experience. 

Table of Contents

Citation Reference List iv

Introduction 1

I. Maureen and Rosa: Portraits of White Complicity 11

II. The White Writer’s Responsibility: Does Gordimer measure up? 39

III. Conclusion 51 Works Cited 54 

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