The analysis of the short story “The Moment Before the Gun Went Off” by Nadine Gordimer shows that it follows a non-linear plot structure. We learn of the outcome of the accident from the first sentence, but the details of what happened are presented gradually, following the line of thought of the main character.
The main character is Marais Van der Vyver, an Afrikaner farmer, who also turns out to be the father of the black boy he accidentally killed. The main focus point of the story is his inner conflict between the social norms he has internalized and his grief at Lucas’ death.
The events take place in a rural part of South Africa, in the early 1990s, in the final years of apartheid. The social setting explores racism and segregation, as well as the conflict between the white farming community and activists in the final days of apartheid. It also explores interracial relationships.
The story is told from the point of view of a third-person narrator who appears to have omniscient traits. However, the story is told mainly from Van der Vyver’s perspective.
The language is informal, and the tone is almost conversational. Because the story lacks dialogue, it seems like a monologue or a verbal retelling of the story.
You can read a more detailed analysis in the following pages.