A Walk in the Night

by Alex La Guma

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What are the settings in A Walk in the Night?    

A Walk in the Night takes place in District Six, an impoverished neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa in the early 1960s. With this story, La Guma is showing how bad things were for the oppressed during apartheid.

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Alex La Guma’s A Walk in the Night takes place in the city of Cape Town, South Africa in the early 1960s. La Guma wrote this in 1962 to bring attention to the struggles the oppressed faced under South Africa's system of apartheid. Apartheid was a legalized system of racial segregation that was enforced in South Africa from 1948 to 1994.

La Guma's story takes place in an impoverished neighborhood of Cape Town called District Six. The main character, Michael Adonis, is wandering the streets at night and then enters a Portuguese restaurant. After the restaurant, he goes back to walking around on the streets. Then he goes into a pub, where he gets fairly intoxicated. On the way home from the pub, he is he runs into an old man named Uncle Doughty, and the two go to his room to talk. The two end up arguing, and Michael kills Doughty and hides in his own room. Eventually, he runs away from the building. Next, Michael goes to a café, where he meets up with other men he conversed with earlier, and they convince him to join a gang.

All of these different places that Michael goes to in District Six show the reader different sides of life in a segregated neighborhood. La Guma is highlighting how difficult life in these neighborhoods is and how good people there, like Michael, end up doing bad things out of desperation.

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