Nadine Gordimer

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What are two examples of Ella's prejudices limiting her perception in Nadine Gordimer's "Happy Event"?

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In Nadine Gordimer's "Happy Event," Ella has limited views formed through her prejudice and misunderstanding of Black South Africans. When Ella chooses servants, she assumes Africans from the same tribe will get along particularly well based on this connection.

However, would two Frenchmen get along well simply because they are both French? Does every American find every other American a kindred spirit? Ella is perplexed and irritated when she sees that the servants do not have a special connection. Her assumption is false, and she cannot understand why.

Ella finds herself pregnant when it is the last possible thing she wants. She has plans to travel with her husband to Europe and knows a child would get in the way of her ambitions. Ella is privileged enough to be able to seek and receive an abortion to resolve her perceived predicament.

Her servant, Lena, is also pregnant. She wishes to keep the baby, but she knows she will not be able to care for the child or keep her job. Lena is not allowed the option of an abortion because of her race. Ultimately, Lena gives birth and kills her child. Ella views her as evil and is shocked when she learns of the death. Ella does not see that the available choices in life vary greatly depending on your status in society.

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