Social and Racial Boundaries Between "Lovers".
The social and racial boundaries in South Africa are clearly portrayed in Nadine Gordimer's short story "Town and Country Lovers". There are two characters in the story that come from completely different backgrounds. They become lovers and are found out by the police. Gordimer illustrates the differenced between the two lovers and how their society reacts to them.
Dr. Franz-Josef von Leinsdorf is a well-educated man from Austria. Gordimer describes him as being a "geologist absorbed in his work" (1854). He is a well-cultured man who enjoys "an occasional skiing trip, listening to music, [and] reading poetry" (1855). Leinsdorf's work has taken him to many different places, including Peru, New Zealand, the United States, and South Africa. "He has no interest in the politics of the countries he works in" (1855), or of becoming a permanent resident in South Africa. Dr. Franz-Josef von Leinsdorf "[accepts the] social distinctions between people but [doesn't] think they should be legally imposed" (1861).
The girl in the story is young and black. She comes from a poor family and is of low class, so low that she does not even have a name in the story. The girl works in a supermarket where she assisted Dr. Leinsdorf in purchasing razor blades, and later did all his shopping for him. "She was one of nine children of a female laundry worker. She had left school in Standard Three (Eighth Grade) because there was no money at home for gym clothes or a school blazer. She had worked as a machinist in a factory and a cashier in a supermarket" (1861). The young girl followed Dr. Leinsdorf's habits, learning how to make real coffee, not "synthetic flavoring" (1857); how to cook; and she learned how to type Dr. Leinsdorf's notes. .
These two manage to come together as lovers and friends, but still the differences between them a prevalent. When they are caught, newspapers report on the story and the girl is shamed by society, even though Dr.