A Dry White Season Essay Research Paper

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A Dry White Season Essay, Research Paper “Brink reaches for that unexpected potent strand of Afrikaner thought: an almost religious repugnance toward governmental corruption. And by using a ‘very ordinary’ Afrikaner as victim, Brink proclaims that no one is South Africa is any longer safe (Redman 5).” Andre Brink’s powerful novel, A Dry White Season, was made into a film directed by Euzhan Palcy about ten years after it was written. Euzhan Palcy did an excellent job directing her film, which was intended to open the world’s eyes to the injustices being committed in South Africa as a result of the apartheid, and it is successful in doing so. However, it fails to reach out to the reader, as does Andre Brink’s novel on which it was based. The movie omits many

characters and actions that take place in the book in its attempt to expose the political struggle in South Africa. But what it lacks is the personal struggle that is the main focus of the novel. The novel uses this strategy of personalizing the main character’s situation to involve the reader further than the film does- to the point that it leaves the horrible situation in the reader’s hands- both literally and figuratively. The reader must decide what to do with what has fallen into his or her lap. The plot of A Dry White Season follows the life of Ben Du Toit for about a year and a half. Ben is a white history teacher living in South Africa during its apartheid, whose eyes are opened through the struggle of his gardener’s family. His gardener, a black man named Gordon

Ngubene, comes to him after his son is beaten and Ben half-heartedly tries to help as Gordon’s son Jonathan is taken into custody by the Special Police, tortured, killed and buried. Ben’s concern and genuine want to help increase as more crimes are committed: Gordon is also taken into police custody, tortured, and killed. When Gordon’s wife, Emily, comes to Ben wanting to have justice be done for what happened to her husband and son, Ben sends her to a lawyer, and helps her in her quest to uncover the truth. More and more is revealed as Ben continues his search with the help of Stanley, an energetic black rebel, and Melanie, a reporter for a British newspaper. However, as Ben probes deeper the Secret Police turn on him and his personal life fall apart before his eyes.

Although the ending is very different in the novel than in the film, in both Ben is killed by the Secret Police. Fortunately he has kept record of the information he has uncovered and his story gets told after all as the reports are passed on and published. The basic story line was preserved in the making of the film, as are the main ideas. It is the way the film presents the issues to its audience that makes the difference. Euzhan Palcy left a lot out of the movie- partially because some things are impossible to carry over into a film, such as Ben’s internal monologue and the descriptive imagery present in the novel- and partially because she had a different focus and motive in making the film. As a result of this, she not only omits those things which are unique to a novel,

but also omits some very important characters, important character development, character’s actions, and even goes as far as to insert some actions that were not present in the novel. The result is a forceful look at the conditions of South Africans- blacks in particular. It causes its audience to think, no doubt, but fails to cause them to relate to the main character as the novel does. It is a shame that one cannot truly show Benjamin Du Toit’s poetic, well-worded, thought provoking internal monologues in the film. The only insight into his mind comes when we hear his thoughts as he finishes writing his record of what he has uncovered. He writes, “If by writing this I can change the opinion of one man who is as blind to the world as I have been, then I will have given