Skin Characters Essay

Submitted By lissamaree
Words: 1303
Pages: 6

Relevance to the text
Identity and belonging
What issues affect them in relation to identity and belonging

Sandra Laing
Coloured person born to white parents
Initially she sees herself as white
When she goes to boarding school she begins to question her identity
She is physically and emotionally abused which leads to her being expelled- is very young when she begins to question her ID and where she belongs in the world
She is then classified coloured –confusion – makes her father furious
Loves her father dearly – uses skin lightener to become white
Realises to win his approval and love, that society she needs to be white
She goes to convent school when she returns her father says ‘the shop is no place for a young woman’ he is saying- I don’t want you mixing with blacks. I have better plans for you. Typewriter – symbolises nice white girl’s domain. – respectability
As a daughter she is desperately wants to please her dad but the fact that she is coloured affects her ability to do this. She is coloured, she doesn’t fit within the black or white society.
Parent’s line up suitors- Sandra has no say in the matter.
The 1st man – prepared to accept he colour.
2nd man saw her as easy
Petrus- he understands her – cultural connection
Parents reject him and ultimately Sandra. – Jail and threatens to kill Petrus – pregnant
Sandra sees herself as coloured.
She establishes a sense of belonging with coloured people.
Has children of her own
Identity of the mother? Takes on the customs of the Bantu
Culturally lives as black- identifies as such and brings up her children as black.
Identity of a wife? She is the backbone of the family when their home and business are destroyed. Petrus, in despair, becomes an alcoholic.
Sandra takes control of her life when Petrus becomes really abusive that she leaves.
Issues of ID and belonging – seeks support from her parents.
Her father, who dominates and is stubborn, refuses to accept her back into the family.
Sandra moves to Johannesburg. Finds work in a factory – has to create a new sense of ID and belonging – single mum , bread winner
Despite all she’s been through. She still feels a strong connection with her white family.
Kids don’t feel that they are enough for their mother

Sandra’s Brother
When young, Leon protective of Sandra.
At boarding school he is supportive.
As he reaches his mid-teens he struggles with her colour.
Part of culture for young men for them to join army
When he returns his father and he use force to tell Petrus to go. GUNS.
ID and belonging – Sees himself as a good Afrikaner. Well educated, follows cultural expectations eg. Army.
Strong sense of where he belongs in the world. Follows the Calvinist views of his father

Delivers grocery’s to Abraham’s store.
Falls in love with Sandra.
Rejected by Sandra family
Wins Sandra over – she becomes a part of his culture
He has a strong sense of belonging. As a black person in a white dominated South Africa he knows that he has no power, he only has access to particular jobs , he will never no wealth or true security
Has the role of breadwinner – dominate over the family
Turns to violence and alcoholism when disempowered.

Petrus’s Mother

Supportive and sympathetic to Sandra.
Accepting of Sandra
Understands that Petrus is brutal and that Sandra needs to reconnect with her family
Helps Sandra escape from Petrus
“we only have two go-go’s but only one mother”

How it impacts with identity and belonging
1 – 9:24
At school, in class with Ms. Ludick
Students and teacher regard blacks as inferior and ‘different’. She says they are no better than animals.
She doesn’t know how to relate to Sandra in the classroom, this is why she ignores her.
The little boy says that his father won’t let blacks drive their tractors because they have monkey hands.
No students are