Town and Country Lovers: A Feminist Criticism

Essay by sLvRk155es March 2005

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What is Feminist criticism? Dobie defines Feminist criticism on page 97 as,

"The premise that unites those who call themselves feminist critics is the assumption that Western culture is fundamentally patriarchal, creating an imbalance of power that marginalizes women and their work. That social structure, they agree, is reflected in religion, philosophy, economics education - all aspects of the culture, including literature. The feminist critic works to expose such ideology and, in the end, to change it so that the creativity of women can be fully realized and appreciated".

Nadine Gordimer's "The Town and Country Lovers" can be looked upon by a Feminist critic and they would find numerous things how women are shown to be degraded in this piece. Gordimer born and raised in South Africa, depicts a image of a wealthy white male and a poor black female pursing a relationship that is forbidden. Because of these actions, they are shunned and embarrassed by society.

This piece is told in a male perspective. Perhaps in doing so, it makes the main character, Leinsdorf more of a hero figure, extending a helping hand to those who are more unfortunate than himself.

We clearly find that the female character or the "lover" is never named. The first words stated in this piece is "Dr. Franz-Josef von Leinsdorf" (pg. 1854), the male's name. The girl is the cashier at the supermarket Dr. Franz-Josef von Leinsdorf goes to, he states, "These young colored girls are usually pretty unhelpful, taking money and punching their machines in a manner that asserts with the time-serving obstinacy of the half-literate the limit of any responsibility towards customers..." (pg. 1856).

His first impression of her was poor little illiterate girl with a low-paying work that requires no talent or intelligence whatsoever. He just assumes that...