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Imran Rashid

Ms. Schroll
Advanced English 11
25 January 2016
Kaffir Boy Final Chapters Critical Analysis
In "Kaffir Boy, Mark Mathabane uses rhetorical questions, similes, and atmosphere to
demonstrate the theme of hope in the final chapters of his memoir.
"Once more I had befriended a white man who didn't fit the stereotype. How many more
of his kind were out there? Why were most blacks not meeting them?" (277). The use of
rhetorical questions in this passage show that Johannes had hope that more whites were capable
of being kind and empathetic. As Johannes meets more loving whites, his outlook on the race as
a whole develops. He begins to understand that the stereotype is just that, a stereotype. The idea
of all whites being evil proves to be false more and more as Johannes meets these kind of white
men. Furthermore, these encounters sprout hope within Johannes for the future.
"Jarvas and his gang had just about reached me when suddenly down the street a truck
with glaring headlights came racing down. Jarvas and his gang jumped to the sides of the street
to make way. I saw salvation. Like a bullet I shot through the opening." (282). This passage,
while seemingly straightforward, holds deeper meaning. Time and time again, Johannes is faced
with suspenseful and sometimes near death circumstances. However, he defies all odds and
continues upon his journey. The simile emphasizes both the suspense in the situation but also
works to relieve suspense as Johannes' life continues even when weighed down with the utmost

doubt of his fate. Additionally, the aforementioned simile and the suspense only amplify the
importance Johannes carries in his quest. As he seeks education and freedom, he fights death and
finds hope where all seems to be lost.
"Tears began streaming down his hollow cheeks. My father was crying. After eighteen
years of my knowing him, he was for the first time, crying. He's human after all; he loves me."
(347). The atmosphere as the book comes to a close is somber but also uplifting. As the audience
sees the affection of Johannes' family towards him they realize even more how important this
journey has been. Anger and oppressed souls are replaced with hope and somber goodbyes as
Johannes departs for America. The contrast between the interactions of Johannes and his father
early in the memoir and at the end vindicates tensions of the past and creates hope for the future.
Mark Mathabane's use of literary devices to show hope as his memoir ends is very
effective. Cumbersome oppression is brushed off and the audience is left with a feeling of hope
as they finally end their journey with Johannes and close the book.