AS English Literature Assignment
‘The Lemon Orchard’ by Alex La Guma, is a touching short story of how a group of white men take hostage a black man, treating him cruelly in a lemon orchard. La Guma creates a powerfully vivid setting, and conveys the characters through language, structure and form. Through this, the inhumanity of apartheid is conveyed.
La Guma first describes the lemon orchard in rich detail, to evoke the setting. He uses imagery in the first sentence so that we can picture the ‘two long, regular rows of trees’ in which the men pass through. This reflects on the regularity of racism in South Africa in the 20 Century, a horrid reality. We can almost feel the cold, with the sensory language; ‘there was a chill in the air,’ and the ‘cold and damp’ night, so we can sympathise with the coloured man who isn’t wearing enough. He must be freezing, and this is because of the white men’s uncaring nature towards him, not giving him enough time to dress properly. A simile evokes the setting even more, showing the dark clouds covering the moon; ‘the moon was hidden behind long, high parallels of cloud which hung like suspended streamers of dirty cotton wool in the sky.’ The dirty clouds seem to symbolise man’s corrupt ways, polluting and blackening nature. The moon in the sky is hiding as if it’s ashamed to witness such a scene of brutality. This imagery is a foreshadowing of what will happen in the orchard. The fact that this scene takes place in the night; ‘in the dark,’ seems to show how what is being done is evil and wrong, as everything bad is seen to reign in the night. Therefore, the imagery in the first paragraph presents setting and theme.
In paragraph two, Guma uses onomatopoeia so that we can hear the dog barking, and the crickets chirping. He writes of the ‘creek-creek-creek’ and the ‘high yaps.’ To me, the dog seems to be warning the world of white men’s actions towards black men, as if it’s guarding them. Unfortunately, its attempts are...