The Ultimate Safari

by Nadine Gordimer

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Student Question

What does "away" mean to the girl in "The Ultimate Safari"?

Expert Answers

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The little girl in The Ultimate Safari often talks about going "away." When she talks about going away, or imagining another place, the reader gets the sense that she's not so interested in where this place is as opposed to where it isn't (that is, it isn't where she currently is). 

Where they currently are is a dangerous place with no food and no mother. They couldn't be forced into a more stressful situation as little children. It isn't surprising that the little girl hopes and dreams of a place that has food, no bandits and the comfort she's missing by not having her mother. This place she simply calls "away." She isn't sure where or how it exists, but she knows it's not where they currently reside. 

"We wanted to go away from where our mother wasn’t and where we were hungry. We wanted to go where there were no bandits and there was food. We were glad to think there must be such a place; away." 

If they could go anywhere else, where they wouldn't be in danger and where they could eat something, it would be better than where they are. This anywhere else is "away" or away from here, or could even be interpreted as a feeling. "Away" could be also be a representation of the absence of hunger and a sense of security. 

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