Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
A Ripple from the Storm covers the years 1941 to 1943. The portrayal of Martha Quest’s emotional, personal life and her tenuous relationship to the mainstream society of white South Africa continues in this novel. Her deep involvement in the secret world of communism adds further complications to her life.
Following the example of her friend Jasmine, Martha—recently divorced and alienated from her mother and daughter—becomes the ideal hard-working communist. Believing that Russia has created the framework for an ideal society, Martha glorifies the country at every opportunity. Her worship of Russia, however, is assailed when Solly Cohen, Martha’s childhood friend, informs her that Joseph Stalin is responsible for executing Red Army officers. Although she does not at first accept this information, subsequent corruption from within her local party forces her to see that comrades do not have an automatic claim to virtue.
As Martha continues to present herself as a willing tool for the good of the Communist Party, she reaches a point of physical breakdown and has to take extended bed rest. During her illness, she is nursed by Anton Hesse, leader of the local Communist group. As Anton guards Martha’s well-being, her former lover, William, fades into the background. Martha allows Anton to take over her mind and body. Her lack of spunk also allows her to accept passively Mrs. Quest’s accusation that she has abandoned Caroline,...
(The entire section is 418 words.)
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