What are the main issues in Gordimer's The Conservationist?
The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer is a story about Mehring, a wealthy, white South African industrialist. Symbolically, Mehring represents the attitude of white South African society. The title supports this symbolism as well. Today, we link the words "conserve" and "conservation" with the preservation of our natural resources. Those words as used in connection with this story refer to the preservation of the status quo in South Africa, the dominance of a minority white population over the majority black population. Apartheid existed in South Africa until 1994, legally segregating whites and blacks. Mehring represents those white South Africans who want to keep things the way they are.