Alex La Guma

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In what ways do form and content conflict in Alex La Guma's novel In the Fog of the Season's End? How might we understand these conflicts, and can they be resolved?

I noticed that many of the paragraphs in Alex La Guma's In the Fog of the Season's End were quite large. In that sense, the form conflicts with the content, because the actual story centers on people who have to be nimble and covert. They don't want to stand out like the paragraphs. Perhaps the conflict resolves itself, since the dense paragraphs might actually put the reader in the same kind of labyrinth facing Beukes and the organizers.

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One trait I noticed about the form of Alex La Guma's novel is the size of many of the paragraphs. The paragraphs are quite big and dense. They are packed with thoughts from the characters, descriptions of other people, and various other sights and sounds from their environment.

The bulky paragraphs might conflict with the content since the characters themselves need to be nimble and alert. Unlike the overtly large paragraphs, Beukes and the members of the anti-apartheid group must be nimble, covert, and mobile. They try to be undetectable. When they are recognized, terrible things happen. When Elias is identified, he's brutally tortured.

Perhaps the supposed conflict between the form of the book and the content can be resolved by arguing that the myriad big paragraphs are needed to accurately convey the dilemma facing the activists. The form puts the reader in their position. Like Beukes, the reader must navigate an array of sights, sounds, thoughts, and dialogue all at once.

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