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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The principle of the Principal as Principal: narratorial identity and perspective in Alan Paton's Diepkloof stories
Author:Foley, Andrew
Year:2005
Periodical:Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa
Volume:17
Issue:1
Pages:70-89
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:short stories
English language
About person:Alan Stewart Paton (1903-1988)ISNI
Abstract:This paper examines Alan Paton's 'Diepkloof stories', which explore Paton's experiences as Principal of Diepkloof Reformatory for African Boys, outside Johannesburg (South Africa), an institution for the rehabilitation of young criminals. The six Diepkloof stories with which the paper is concerned are included in the collection 'Debbie go home' (1961). Though set at the time of Paton's principalship in the 1930s and 1940s, the stories were written in the 1950s. The stories, which on the surface appear to be casual fragments of personal memoir, are in fact profound meditations on the nature of hope and despair. What is revealed through the eyes of the Principal is an understanding of the deep divisions in South African society, which were widening under the pressure of apartheid rule. The perspective of these stories is not so much that of a sympathetic reformatory Principal in the 1940s, but the tortured mind of a political leader in the 1950s, forced to witness the desolation of his 'beloved country'. More broadly, the stories present a bleak vision of a world in which evil holds sway, in which many wrongs cannot be righted, and in which good men find themselves powerless to change things. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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