Style and Technique
This long short story is double-plotted; that is, it is actually two stories that enhance and comment on each other. While the story of the events at the Kleynhans place receives the most attention, it is frequently interrupted by abrupt and often darkly comic sections devoted to the ape attacks. Only gradually does it become clear that the two plots are related in that they both illuminate, albeit in very different ways, the cancerous intolerance at the core of South African society.
The characters of Charles, Eddie, Vusi, and especially Joy are fully rounded, replete with complex motivations and very human shortcomings. The white suburbanites of the ape sections, on the other hand, are frequently stereotypes, monsters of egotism and self-absorption whose personalities are exposed rather than developed. Through her manipulation of these interlocking plots, Gordimer manages to mimic in her fiction what she sees the South African government doing in fact: treating one segment of society as a community of responsible, dignified individuals, the other segment as a simpleminded, inflammatory, and potentially dangerous rabble.