“Crackling Day” by Peter Abrahams and “The Old Chief Mshlanga” by Doris Lessing are both stories that deal with the discrimination of the black race in South Africa. These stories present a viewpoint of life during the apartheid period in which the black race was treated as inferior because of the color of their skin. In “Crackling Day,” a young black boy in South Africa challenges three white youths and, in so doing, challenges the political system of the whole country.
In “The Old Chief Mshlanga,” a girl name Nkosikaas Jordan learns to see things through the eyes of the native inhabitants of South Africa and, in doing so, bring about a change in her character. In these stories the main characters confront internal and external conflicts about racism, human rights, and hopelessness. In both stories, the characters deal with an issue of racism in which one character faces it and the other causes it. In “Crackling Day,” the narrator, a young black boy, is faced with hatred violence because of his ethic background.Order now
When the narrator went to the store to buy crackling for his mother, the storeowner made him beg and say, “Baas” because he was black. The narrator deals with both internal and external conflicts because he experiences the hatred of the outside world and the inside struggles of being black in a white man’s world. In “The Old Chief Mshlanga,” Nkosikaas Jordan is a spoiled white girl who spends her time being cruel and allowing her dogs to terrorize the native. Nkosikaas is blind to the things around her and this causes her to act in a dreadful manner.
She later on discovers some truth about the land and it’s people when she meets Chief Mshlanga. This experience causes her internal conflicts in which she struggles to change and understand those around her from their point of view. In both stories, the characters are faced with different racial situations, but they both deal with an internal conflict, which they are forced to view the other person viewpoint. Another key issue is the ability to stand up for what one believes in. The narrator of “Crackling Day” demonstrates this theme by first standing up against the three white boys and then for the memories of his father.
When faced with the racial discrimination, the narrator fights as a means to speak out against the white boys and to illustrate that his father is just as good as any other man, white or black. But this fight also brings about the narrator’s downfall in which he is discriminated against and beaten and by his own uncle for standing up for his right. The narrator is faced with both internal and external conflicts because the events that took place were beaus of physical and mentally hatred.
Nkosikaas Jordan also learns to stand up for what she believes in by first developing an awareness and sensitivity to the natives of South Africa. She learns to make her own judgment and to observe her role in life by standing outside of it, watching all the beauty of the land. In this situation Nkosikaas deals with an internal conflict where she tries to find out how she can belong in this part of the world. Hopelessness is also an issue that appears in both stories more than once. In “Crackling Day,” the narrator feels a sense of hopelessness when he was attacked by all three boys and when he was forced to look down at the store.
He was humiliated and he felt worthless because of how he was treated by the storeowner. The narrator deals with an internal conflict in which he felt ashamed of his ethic background and the person he is. Nkosikaas Jordan also deals with the same problem when she gets lost on the way to Chief Mshlanga’s village. Nkosikaas becomes confused and frightened because of the fact that she didn”t have the support of a gun or her dogs. She also felt as if she didn”t belong to the land and that old evil of the land way after her.
At this point, Nkosikaas deals with an internal conflict were she is ensured of who she is and where she belongs. Nkosikaas becomes overwhelmed by her surrounds and on her way home from the village, she started to believe that she was a destroyer. She felt empty hearted and believed that she was a victim because she didn”t belong to the natives” world or to her own kind. In conclusion, although the narrator of “Crackling Day” and Nkosikaas where presented with different situations, they both where affected by racism, human rights, and a sense of hopelessness.
The apartheid period in which both stories were based, did not just affect the black race, but it also affected the youth of the white. This cause the youths to feel separated from the rest of the world around them and to question their place in it. Even though the two characters were emotional impact by the challenges of being a different race, the narrator of “Cracking Day,” suffered the most. The narrator was physical and emotionally degraded and he still has to deal with it everyday of his life, while Nkosikaas can return to her superior position as a white person.