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Make a case for the narrator being the most important character in the novel.

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mwmw | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 19, 2012 at 10:34 AM via web

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Make a case for the narrator being the most important character in the novel.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 19, 2012 at 12:03 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that a case can be made for the narrator being the most important character because, in many respects, the future of a post- Apartheid vision rests with individuals like the narrator.  Certainly, Ben is highly significant as an Afrikaner who recognizes the brutality of his own race against Africans and how the system of apartheid is nothing more than institutionalized cruelty.  In this, there is significance.  Yet, the narrator is the individual who is able to fully recognize Ben's narrative as one of resistance and dissent.  When Ben dies, it is a moment where the reader and the narrator both recognize that the legacy of Ben's work has to be carried on by those who hear of Ben's story.  It seems that Ben's sacrifice is one that can only be fully appreciated with the efforts of those who hear it.  In this, the narrator becomes the most important figure in dismantling the racist system of apartheid.  If the narrator is not present, Ben's narrative and his hopes of achieving change on any level are denied.  This makes the narrator and, by extension,  the reader the most important figures in understanding the themes of Brink's work.

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