Being different is not always bad. It can as well mean to be capable of doing something others wouldn’t have done, to have a dream of becoming something that extends beyond your social environment. But it can be a complicated road to achieving this dream and you can meet different obstacles that need to be overcome. Sometimes deliverance is the answer. This is the situation presented in the short story “Dukwane’s deliverance”, written by Neil Ramsorrum, where the boy, Dukwane, looses the ability to walk while having a plan on attending Cambridge University. He has to deal with the fact that he is a black teenage, who lives in a society where most people are white and despite that he is a cripple as well. The main theme is reflected in this confrontation with difficulties, and tells never to give up on your dreams.
The protagonist Dukwane is a black teenager, who lives with his father and mother in Camden. His family are not particularly wealthy, which is indicated by the fact that he works six shifts a week in a non-fancy fast-food restaurant. Another indication of this is the father’s choice of occupation, “As he looked at his father sat there, his bottom shirt button open and exposing his belly overhanging his trousers, he felt a sense of sadness, but also a determination to be more”. Dukwane wants to be more than his father, who is overweight and sits in front of the television all day. This ambition is a characteristic thing about him.
Dukwane is not like other people in his social environment. He is an intelligent teenager, who is going to attend Cambridge University, which you can argue is an uncommon decision among his friends and family. Dukwane’s friend, Jermaine, questions Dukwane’s decision. “Well, they are all loaded, and white, I heard you get the cane from your teachers if you don’t do your work. And the older guys are gay and make the younger ones do weird shit”. He presents some negative prejudices about the university. He doesn’t think it is a place for him and wonders why he wants to attend. However Dukwane is determined to attend Cambridge University and later on becoming a politician just like Barak Obama, his big idol. Dukwane is furthermore a very courageous teenager who wants to do the right thing.
“Dukwane gets up first, his hand raised to try and calm the gang of four, instinctively he places his body between the kid and his pursers”. He chooses to protect the child from getting caught and ends up being stabbed himself. “You always do the right thing”, is what Jermaine said afterwards and even after the suggestion of revenge Dukwane does the right thing and refuses. But despite being different he is as well a part of the social environment. “”Melones hugos! Nice,” said Dukwane in what he imagined was a Spanish accent. “That’s all you think about.”” His use of colloquial language indicates that he can act as the others when the situation comes.
The story is told with a third person narrator, who has a limited omniscient point of view. This means that the reader sees the events and other characters from Dukwane’s point of view. This way of telling a story involves the reader more than an “all knowing” third person narrator by giving the narrator an identity and makes it more interesting for the reader because everything becomes possible when the narrator isn’t “all knowing”. You can other than that say that the reader is involved due the knowledge of Dukwane’s thoughts and feelings. “He hears the sound after he feels it. Almost like the release of air, his body no longer in his control, falling to the pavement again.
He feels the blood but cannot lift his head to see it. All he can see is the blur of neon fading”. The narrator has a limited point of view, and therefore the reader has a limited insight, which creates intensity and therefore becomes interesting. Another thing that creates this intensity is the change in tense. The scene where the quotation is chosen from is in the present tense, whereas the rest of the story is in the present tense. The author’s choice of using this tense combined with short sentences separated by commas and mimicking sudden motion creates a vivid setting, where the reader is involved. This leads to the setting of the short story.
Dukwane lives as said in a less wealthy environment just outside London and there are different indications that tell about this environment. The social setting is mostly conveyed through the use of social- and class markers and the colloquial language, which Dukwane and his friends use. First of all there is the non-fancy restaurant, where the customers aren’t taken that serious. “”Pretty much. Except when I’m thinking about ass. You should try it. £2.99, boss””, here Jermaine is addressing Dukwane, but in the last sentence he addresses a costumer. Usually the focus is at the costumer when you are at work in order to show your manners. His action and language indicates that they are a part of the lower social class, where manners aren’t very important. Another class marker is the hospital Dukwane is in.
“Dukwane turned on the TV console above his bed. £3.50 per day to watch the BBC” You don’t usually pay money for watching TV at a hospital, and it is totally absurd in comparison to the Danish hospitals, so the hospital isn’t fancy. Furthermore you can say that the environment is multicultural. “You know the Bengalis my cousin Frank hangs out with?” The fact that the protagonist himself is black, and that there are people from Bangladesh indicates that the area is multicultural. An interesting thing about the setting is that it also reflects Dukwane’s mood and the atmosphere.
“As he stepped out onto Yorks Way, the sun was setting over Kings Cross in the distance, a crimson candyfloss sky broken by a dozen cranes all busy building his city.” He is happy that he got into Cambridge and the beautiful sunset and candyfloss sky create an atmosphere and reflect his mood. Moreover there is a contrast between he metallic machines and the fluffy candyfloss sky, which distinguish between the magical unrealistic sky and the rough capability and power of the cranes. The setting shows the distinction between what Dukwane already has and what he searches for, from the less wealthy environment to the large city of London.
The theme of the short story is that you shouldn’t give up your dream despite the obstacles that can occur on your way to achieving it. “You are going to do what you always wanted to do. Do you hear”, “By your wits and sheer persistence. This is what makes us rise above other men, it is how we face adversity; how we challenge those who hold us back, how we make real our dream”. This is what the imaginary Barack Obama said to Dukwane, when he was given morphine to ease his pain. This quotation reflects the main theme of the story with precision.
The short story “Dukwane’s deliverance” is about a bright black teenage boy, who is admitted to Cambridge University but unfortunately becomes paralyzed in his legs. He wants to be more than his father; he wants to break the social heritage in a multicultural area where people aren’t particularly
wealthy, which is reflected in the social setting and the colloquial language. The setting shows as well this distinction between the two environments and what Dukwane has and wants to achieve. Nothing will stop him from achieving his dream neither as a poor black man nor a cripple.
Courtney from Study Moose
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