A Dry White Season

by André Brink

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How does fear influence characters' actions in A Dry White Season?

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In A Dry White Season, a novel by André Brink, there is a climate of fear that affects both the black and parts of the white population in apartheid-era South Africa. This fear influences characters to do what they wouldn't do under normal circumstances. One of the most surprising plot twists in the novel, which exemplifies the influence of fear, is when Ben du Toit's daughter betrays him. Suzette du Toit is portrayed as a normal person who shows no signs of nationalism at the beginning of the novel.

However, when Ben tells Suzette and his son, Johan, where he is hiding sensitive documents, Suzette suddenly becomes a traitor. Her drastic change in attitude and personality is due to fear over what the government officials might do. She sees her father as a threat to the whole family's structure and existence. Suzette even betrays her father twice. She is someone who appears to show psychopathy and extremist views regarding the apartheid system, but underneath these surface-level behaviors is deep fear, which causes her metamorphosis into one of the villains.

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