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Transcript of Fiela's Child
Observing the significance of the minor characters
Minor characters help to add more exciting and interesting elements to a story. The readers will notice this person, but the character will only be in the story for a short time. This person's individuality will set a certain mood or tone throughout the novel.
The Purpose of Minor Characters
The Two Families
"Petrus Zondagh had never been a white god to her as he had to Selling, but he was a man of his word and was greatly respected; he was the big ma in the Long Kloof and he would find a short cut to Benjamin."(175)
-Fiela's thoughts about Petrus.
Dawid and Tollie
Dawid and Tollie are Fiela's sons. They appeared in the novel few times, but their presence had a very strong impact in the novel.
They had a great relationship with Benjamin, and they treated him as their brother.
You can even point out that the death of Dawid pushed Benjamin to return to the Long Kloof to see his family
There was a definite contrast between Dawid and Tollie and the Van Rooyen brothers.
Petrus is a white farmer in the Long Kloof.
He has much respect for Fiela and her family, and does not see them to be any different than anybody else.
Petrus goes against the stereotype that all white people are racist or prejudice towards black people during this time period. Going against a common stereotype is a trait of most minor characters.
The Dutch first came to colonize parts of South Africa (This could be the reason why Fiela speaks Dutch).
The Dutch brought slaves from parts of Asia and Africa to work in different types of labor systems in South Africa.
Other Europeans (primarily the British) started to take over South Africa in 1806. By the late 1800s, Europenas had complete control over South Africa.
When you first started to read the novel, were you surprised by how Petrus treated Fiela and her family? Why or why not?
How does Petrus's personality and actions influence the outcomes of the novel?
If the author made Petrus as most other white males during this time period, how would it have affected the story?
“He had always known it, but it never mattered because he was just like Dawid and Tollies and Kittie and Emma in the house.”(10)
To what extent does Does Dawid and Tollie contribute to the great difference between the Komoetie and the Van Rooyens?
How does the news of Dawid's death affect Benjamin's decision to go back to the Long Kloof?
Is there a difference a difference between Benjamin's relationship with his black brothers and his relationship with his white brothers? Explain?
How might the novel be affected if these minor characters, Dawid and Tollie, were not apart of it?
“ ‘No, master, but the man I want to talk to is the one that tried to play Solomon over my hand-child, the magistrate.’” (170)
Made the final decision about which family Benjamin belonged to.
According to Fiela, he acted as Solomon over her child.
Did not give Fiela the chance to explain her case or side of the story.
He shows how biased the court system was against different people back in the 1800s.
His own people were not honest with him as well. For example, the tall man, that came to take the census, had told Barta who Benjamin was before she went in front of the magistrate. Also Elias was able to trick the magistrate, and make him believe that Benjamin was happy with his new family.
In all, the magistrate was blind to many things even though he was the person in power.
How does the Magistrate play Solomon over Benjamin?
To what extent does the Magistrate's actions influence the rest of the novel?
People in high positions of government are supposed to represent their government's beliefs and protect their constituents. Why then do you think the Magistrate was so reluctant to help and meet with Fiela?
The Magistrate is a person who people are supposed to look up to and obey. To what extent does the events in Fiela's Child give credence to this statement?
Kaliel was a fisherman who had very strong beliefs toward the sea
Gave Benjamin a job catching oysters, fishing, cleaning fish and drying it.
Introduced him to being an oarsman (not that he wanted him to become one)
Informed him about where the best fishing spots were and where to get tools
Gave Benjamin shelter when away from Elias and also became his companion
Told him stories of the sea; entertained his imagination
Before dark he realized that he had underestimated Kaliel September: it was not blood that flowed through his veins, it was seawater. Pg 257
Do you think Kaliel was a good friend to Benjamin? Why or Why not?
How did Kaliel influence Benjamin on his journey to finding himself?
Would you describe Kaliel's view of Benjamin being a woodcutter as discriminating? Would you be offended if you were Benjamin?
Why does Kaliel feel so strong towards being an oarsman?
To what extent does Nina let Miss Weatherbury help her?
If Miss Weatherbury was not there to teach Nina how to dress and act like a lady, would Benjamin still be attracted to her?
Why do you think Nina always came back to Miss Weatherbury even though she did not like her teachings?
Offered Nina a place to work and earn money
teaches her proper manners instead of letting Nina be her erratic self
Was more of a mother figure in Nina's life rather than Barta was
Taught her to be independent from her father, not to owe him anything
She had said it in a decent sort of way and he liked the look of her. If Nina had found a place with her, it would be a miracle and his should be more than thankful for it. Pg 242
Minor characters are very important to a novel. They help to add more exciting and interesting elements to a story. The readers will notice this person, but the character will only be in the story for a short time. This person's individuality will set a certain mood or tone throughout the novel. Do not forget to think about the "small people"!
Willem and Kristoffel
They were the sons of Elias and Barta Van Rooyen.
Both sons seem to show little affection throughout the novel towards their family and Benjamin.
Willem and Kristoffel left home to go work for their wives' fathers. The idea of leaving home to become emersed in the wives family reminded us a "matriarchal society."
There is a major contrast between the relationship of them to Benjamin, and Benjamin to Dawid and Tollie.
What are the differences between Dawid and Tollie, and Willem and Kristoffel? What are the similarities?
Throughout the novel, the authour brings credence to the fact that you should not judge a person based on their race. She especially portrayed this through the personalities of characters such as Fiela and Elias. Did she do the same with Willem and Kristoffel, and Dawid and Tollie?
Does the relationship between Willem and Kristoffel, and their family tell you anything about the Van Rooyen on a whole?
To what extent would the novel change if Willem and Kristoffel were not present? Explain and give examples.
"He got use to thinking of Willem and Kristoffel as brothers."
Presented by: Daniel T., Casey R., & Kevin L.
The Utilization of Sterotypes with Minor Charcaters
The use of sterotypes is very common for minor characters.
They are normally referred to as "Walk-on Characters"
They do exactly what the reader expects him or her to do. They will most likely be forgotten.
When an author chooses to go aganist a common sterotype of a charcter, that character is now unique, and becomes an essential part of the story.