How do the three women (Elsa, Miss Helen and Katrina) encounter oppression? What do they do to combat it? 

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I am not sure who Katrina is in reference to your question.  There is no scripted character by that name in Fugard's play or in the 1991 film adaptation of the play.  

Miss Helen encounter's oppression in two ways.  The first way is not overt oppression.  After her husband's death, Miss Helen no longer attended church.  Consequently, many members of the community no longer made efforts to interact with Miss Helen.  They didn't do anything to expressly oppress her, but the loneliness had to be tough.  The second way that Miss Helen feels oppression is by her own creation.  She believes that darkness represents spiritually dark forces.  Her answer to that is to attempt to light every last corner of her house.  I'm not sure if that's exactly possible, but just the thought of any darkness being "evil" oppresses her daily life.  

Elsa is oppressed by guilt.  She fears commitment in general, so being pregnant was too much to handle.  Elsa had an abortion in order to get out of the commitment of being a mother, and now she feels guilty about the decision.  She wonders if it was the correct decision, and visits her role model -- Miss Helen. 

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user1893442's profile pic

user1893442 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Katrina is the colored lady who has a baby with Koos. She has a baby and Koos has a drinking problem. Katrina also helped Miss Helen clean her home. She is also a friend to Helen.

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