An analysis of the short story “Amnesty” by Nadine Gordimer shows that the text has a chronological structure. The action takes place over eight years, from the time the narrator’s future husband leaves the village to when he is released from prison.
The main characters are the narrator and her fiancé. Throughout most of the narrative, the two characters are separated because the man is imprisoned for fighting for black people’s rights. When they are reunited, the narrator feels that the man is detached and preoccupied with political issues.
The physical setting is a village in South Africa, where the narrator and her family live. Another important part of the setting is Robben Island, where the man is imprisoned for five years. Because the events take place during apartheid in South Africa, the social setting deals with issues such as the imprisonment of political prisoners for offenses against the apartheid regime.
The events are told by an unnamed first-person narrator, who is also one of the story’s main characters. The insight into the narrator’s thoughts and feelings helps readers understand her perspective regarding the apartheid regime in South Africa.
The language mainly illustrates the narrator’s simplicity and ignorance when it comes to the cause her fiancé is fighting for. In the end, the narrator’s ignorance and the man’s secrets affect their communication and cause them to become distant to one another.
A full analysis of the short story can be found on the following pages.