Judith Newman Special Commissioned Essay on The Lying Days by Nadine Gordimer Themes In The Lying Days

Themes In The Lying Days

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

OVERVIEW

The themes in The Lying Days highlight the interaction between the personal and the public, for the novel is both a bildungsroman, a story of a young person's growth and education, and a topical novel that engages directly with the history of South Africa in the twentieth century, particularly with the period in which apartheid was established. As a result, the body is a focus of interest as Helen grows up and discovers sexuality and at the same time recognizes the racism of her society. Positive and negative versions of bodily discovery are juxtaposed. Helen's adolescent feelings well up from her inmost self and propel her beyond the narrow life of her parents. Beneath her...

(The entire section is 8361 words.)