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Kaffir Boy

Kaffir Boy

by Mark Mathabane

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Sympathetic

Because this is an autobiography, the tone of the narrative is sympathetic to the narrator, Mark Mathabane. For example, though Mathabane was harshly criticized for his decision not to boycott the South African Breweries' Open, and although he was banned for life from playing black tennis because other black tennis players saw his refusal as traitorous, Mathabane justifies his decision as reasonable. In so doing, he plays down the political implications of his act and suggests that it was personally necessary for him act this way in order to escape the repressive system once and for all. In retrospect, even those who denounced Mark as a traitor may find good reasons to justify his deflection from black solidarity. After all, he went on to write Kaffir Boy, an extremely influential book in the fight against apartheid.

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