South Africa is one of the countries that suffered from the apartheid system, which created various forms of injustices as segregation, discrimination and racism of the black people; it has also affected the social and economical life of the South Africans. Many writers use their pens as a weapon to defend the rights of black people as human beings, and Peter Abraham is one of those writers who defended the blacks and rejected the apartheid system. He expresses his ideas by writing the novel “mine boy” in 1949; his novel highlights the dehumanizing results of discrimination on the black South African. The novel is considered as the first modern novel written in English that succeeded to attract the light of the world.
As any literary text, the novel has received many critiques. Shally-Anne Jackson, in her article , Abraham’s Mine Boy : A Study of the Colonial Disease in South Africa , asserts that diseases are “social phenomenon” and that “all the drugs in the world will prove almost powerless in the face of poverty, unemployment, and social misery” (Jackson 154). Also, through the novel, she indicates the diseases of Tuberculosis, the colonial alienation, and alcohol and drugs addiction (161-165). According to the commentator Michael Wade, Mine Boy novel (1946) is a “proletarian novel whose plot displays a Marxist perspective on life” (Wade, 1978, p.96). Critics like Patrick Hogan argues that the Mine Boy is a work of cross-racial harmony along class limits and necessarily must be understood as “a Marxist narrative of coming into political ‘maturity’, which is to say, ‘class consciousness'” (Hogan, 1999, p.38). Meanwhile, Jean-Philippe Wade says that the work is reflection of the African National Congress regime from liberal humanist perspective (89-101). In his writing of “Urbanism and Black Mobility in Peter Abrahams’s Mine Boy”, Megan Jones explores the idea of space and the movement of the characters through the urban space of Johannesburg and gives portrayal about the “organisation of urban life by racist capitalism” (Jones 203-215).The same critic in another article entitled ” Walking the city: movement and space in Peter Abrahams’ mine boy ” claims that the novel is a mixture of the Marxist and the humanist ideologies ( Jones 14). However, after reading the novel, it seems that during the days of apartheid system, in South Africa, racism has limited the life of the black race at different levels which led to resistance. Thus, in the light of the novel’s analysis, this research is in attempt to solve the problem of the way in which the writer demonstrates the different aspects of racism against the South African black race with its negative impacts and the way in which tries to show a possible way to end racism issue. Therefore, three questions may raise through this study can be stated as follows: What is the historical context that motivated Peter Abrahams to write his novel Mine Boy? , To what extent has racism limited the black race’s rights in the different aspects of human life through peter Abrahams’ depiction of the South African society in the novel?, And in the light of the analysis of the novel, how has the South Africans been affected under the colonial domination of the whites and in what possible way they can resist the evils of racial segregation?.
Furthermore, the present investigation aims at achieving these three main objectives: Firstly, No author can write in emptiness and his literature must be the product of history. It is “protest literature “in South Africa and Mine boy novel is one of those literatures that must be analyzed from the Marxist and postcolonial perspectives due to the shared ideologies. Secondly, Racism greatly characterized the South African society during the apartheid system where race has determined the rights of the blacks and their social class. Thirdly, the novel embodies the idea of equality, social justice, and even corporation between the whites and the blacks within the South African society since not all the white are devils
Due to the nature of the work, the current study concerned itself with the issues of racism, the effects of colonial policies, and resistance. Therefore, in an attempt to provide the reader with appropriate answers and to give a critical examination of these issues through a close textual reading, two theoretical approaches are very necessary in the process. These approaches are the Marxist Literary Approach and the Post-colonial Literary Approach. Moreover, the data for this investigation are gathered from library, internet, and other documents relating to the novel which also serves as a main source of information.
The outline comprises three chapters. The first chapter is a theoretical foundation of the general context of the novel, and the literary approaches that are used in the interpretation. The chapter is divided to three sections; the first section presents a historical overview about the South African society and its situation during the apartheid system, which helps in understanding the context of the novel. The second section introduces the South African literature and novelists during that time, particularly Peter Abrahams and his works. The third section deals with the ideologies and the different sub-theories of both Post-colonial and Marxist approaches, which in turn help in analyzing the characters and the events of the novel. The second chapter of the thesis is devoted for an analysis about racism at different levels within the novel. The third chapter discusses the negative effects of the white regime and resistance of the blacks. It includes three sections. The first section highlights the alienation of the black South Africans .the second section explores the lost of identity and mimicry within the novel. The last section is to analyze resistance and the form of fighting the authority of the whites in the light of the novel.