Structure

Title

The title of the short story “The Moment Before the Gun Went Off” by Nadine Gordimer creates an expectation that the story will be about an accident or a violent crime. The focus is on the gun going off, which might suggest an accident rather than a crime with intent. The expectation created by the title proves to be correct, but there is also a symbolic meaning, which is revealed towards the end of the story.

Right before the accident takes place, Van der Vyver experiences a moment of connection between Lucas and himself, similar to the one shared by him and Lucas’ mother while they are both staring at Lucas’ grave. This highlights the family connection between the three of them. Van der Vyver and Lucas' moment of connecttion is shared through the roof of the car, just like the bullet passes through the roof an instant later.

The moment of silent connection briefly highlights their relationship as father and so...

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