A Blade of GrassAuthor: Lewis Desoto
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At the beginning of A Blade of Grass, how does MÄrit feel about the farm and the land she renames "Kudufontein"? How do her feelings change over the course of the novel?
How would you describe Ben's feelings about his farm and the land? What seems to motivate those feelings? How do they differ from MÄrit's and why? Did MÄrit's response to his death strike you as unusual in any way?
How would you characterize the nature of the relationship between Tembi and MÄrit? What are some of the obstacles to their closeness? How does tragedy impact their individual lives? What threatens to divide them?
What is significant about MÄrit's decision to wear a sarong, go barefoot, and shear her hair? Why might such behavior be interpreted as a challenge to neighbors like Eloise Pretorius and Connie van Staden? Why does MÄrit get a cold reception at Patel's Haberdashery in Klipspring?
In A Blade of Grass, the word apartheid is never used to describe the codified racial boundaries that existed in South Africa between blacks and whites. What are some of the physical and social aspects of apartheid that struck you in this book? Can you think of ways in which blacks and whites in this novel reject outright racist attitudes? Or, how do they embrace them?
"Today you pay me ... but tomorrow I will pay you. Both of you!," says bossboy Joshua. How does he make good on his threats against Tembi and MÄrit? Do you feel that his frustration and anger were justified in any way? How did you feel when his behavior was avenged by Tembi?
How does Khoza's arrival on the farm change the dynamic between Tembi and MÄrit? What aspects of Khoza's personality make MÄrit distrust him? Were you surprised when she allowed him to take her rifle? How would you characterize Khoza's loyalties to MÄrit and Tembi? Does his behavior toward the black soldiers complicate your understanding of his loyalty?
"I wouldn't lower myself to his level," says MÄrit. Why does she lie to Tembi about what happens between her and Khoza? How does this lie affect their friendship? Does this remark reflect a change or prejudice in MÄrit's attitudes?
Why do Khoza and Tembi force MÄrit out of her home? Why does she choose not to fight them, or punish them even when she has a clear opportunity to do so? Were you surprised that Tembi would betray MÄrit like this? Do you believe that Khoza and Tembi were justified in their actions? Why or why not?
A Blade of Grass opens and closes with the image of seeds that Tembi intends to plant. How does this image undergo a transformation over the course of the novel? How do the original seeds nourish Tembi and MÄrit at various points in the book? What do the seeds at the end of the book represent?