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Stable Meaning, the Perversion of Nature, and Discursive Communities in Alex La Guma's "The Lemon Orchard" South African writer Alex La Guma was an energetic member of the Nation's non-white liberation movement. One of the 156 people accused in the Treason Trial of 1956, La Guma wrote his first book, A Walk in the Night and Other Stories, in 1962 (Wade 15). "The Lemon Orchard," a story which emerged in this debut work, is a gripping piece about the horror and cruelty of racism. In the story, La Guma describes in chilling detail how a black educator (who had sought legal redress to be beaten up by his church and chief ministry) has been roused from his sleep and led to a lemon orchard by four white men to get whipping. At the start of the narrative, the moon is "hidden behind long, high parallels of cloud" (La Guma 15). La Guma is seemingly suggesting that the moon (symbolizing Nature) does not wish to witness what's going to happen, since it hides itself from clouds and shows its own disapproval by pretending to cast its light on these men. On the other hand, the story ends with Nature mirroring, even expecting the violence which will happen. For instance, the trees possess "angled branches" using "hints and borders" which "[gleam] with the quivering glow of scattered quicksilver" (19). In addition, the moon comes out "from behind the banks of cloud" (19). Words such as "angled branches", "hints and advantages" as well as "gleamed" conjure up an image of shiny, metallic weapons (for example, knives or arrows) associated with death and violence. The word "quivering" and the moon's emergence also indicate that Nature is waiting with bated breath to the impending beating. La Guma's depiction of Nature condoning the beating (as it mirrors and anticipates that the imm...