Despite being published nearly thirty years ago, I found several details that were jarringly relevant to modern American society. On page 932, Gordimer describes guns as “domestic objects” as she writes about “children playing a fatal game with a father’s revolver.” It’s certainly disappointing to see that we’ve made such little progress in gun control during the past three decades. Another line that stuck out to me came from page 934: “Although a man of such standing in the district, Van der Vyver had to go through the ritual of swearing that it was the truth” (Gordimer). To me, this implied that Van der Vyver should have automatically been believed due to his political power. It felt especially relevant given the MeToo movement and how to this day powerful politicians are more likely to be believed no matter how many women come forward with their stories. I also noticed the words “their truth about the country” on page 932 (Gordimer). The phrase sounds similar to the words “fake news” that we hear so often. Both versions promote the same idea: anything that goes against what a certain political party believes should not be seen as the truth, which is a wrong and dangerous mindset to encourage.
There isn’t much at all about kudu symbolism, but I did find out that Jewish people used their horns as a traditional horn for Rosh Hashanah.
The final line can be interpreted both literally and metaphorically. It’s possible that Lucas really was Van der Vyver’s biological son—Gordimer writes on page 935 that Lucas’s grandparents had worked for Van der Vyver’s father, so Van der Vyver probably knew Lucas’s mother and might have grown up with her, or at least around her. She and Van der Vyver seem to be the only ones staring at the grave without looking at anyone else, which gives them an odd similarity or connection. However, given his support for the Immorality Act, it doesn’t seem very likely that he would have a child with her. Rather, stating that Lucas was his son could be seen as Van der Vyver feeling a human connection with Lucas just before the gunshot—that “moment of high excitement” described on page 935 (Gordimer).
Image Credit: https://www.jimzuckerman.com/jim-zuckermans-blog/african-kudu-in-action