Gordon was raised in South Africa but, at the time of publication, had lived elsewhere for quite some time.
In this novel, the main character is Tengo, a young black boy who grows up on a farm owned by a white family. Tengo is friends with the young nephew of the farmer, but as the two boys grow older Tengo becomes aware of differences in the way he and the nephew are treated.
Tengo begins to read and to become educated, causing these differences to become more and more evident. Finally, Tengo finds himself embroiled in the student revolution taking place against the white government and face to face with his old friend. Waiting for the Rain is a story of the terrible toll the struggles in South Africa had on its youngest victims, the children.
Each time he comes to the farm on his school vacations, he first checks on each of his favorite animals before searching for his good friend, Tengo.
Tengo is a willing playmate to Frikkie despite the differences between them. Tengo is not allowed to dine with Frikkie in the main house even though his own mother prepared the food. Tengo is more knowledgeable about the farm than Frikkie as he is the one to teach Frikkie how to milk the cows.
Frikkie returns this favor by teaching Tengo how to swim. As Tengo grows older, he aches to learn. Tengo devours these books and they begin to open his eyes to some of the inequalities taking place right before his eyes. In fact, Tengo discovers that his old friend Frikkie and his uncle misunderstand the history of their own country, allowing them to continue discriminating against Tengo and members of his race.
Tengo finally convinces his parents to allow him to go to Johannesburg to attend school.
Tengo is so far behind in his studies that he studies constantly in an attempt to catch up. Tengo hopes to earn a first class matriculation and win a scholarship to college. However, in the year before Tengo is to write his matriculation, unrest breaks out in the city.
Students begin staging protests against the government. The schools are soon shut down and Tengo finds himself forced to choose between loyalty to his friends and his desire to learn.
Tengo misses his matriculation exam but learns that a beloved cousin works with the African National Congress. Through the ANC, this cousin can arrange for Tengo to go overseas to continue his education. Tengo is frightened and excited all at once by this opportunity.
However, shortly before he is due to leave, there is a gathering after the funeral of several children killed during a protest.
Tengo arrives to find soldiers attempting to break up the meeting. Tengo finds himself filled with so much anger that he begins throwing stones at soldiers firing guns at the unarmed civilians.
One of the soldiers is killed by an unseen gunman. Tengo flees, but finds himself pursued by a soldier.
Tengo hides in a shed only to be chased there by the soldier. Tengo hits the soldier on the head with a broken tire iron. Tengo and Frikkie talk, sharing memories, but also debating the protests going on outside.
Finally Tengo makes the decision to let Frikkie go. On his part, Frikkie makes the conscious choice not to turn Tengo in to his fellow soldiers. This section contains words approx.Mar 11, · Larry, one of Keller’s son was missing (or dead?) in the war, and Kate, Larry’s mother, was still waiting for him.
Chris, the other son of theirs, felt unhappy and wanted to move away.
The youngest child was taken to the sky and turned into a kind of rain while the others were adopted into grandmothers home. The Theme of Family. Waiting for the Rain is a young adult novel by South African-born American writer Sheila Gordon, first published in It tells the story of two boys, one black and one white, growing up on a farm in South Africa during apartheid.
The first theme shown in Sheila Gordon's Waiting for the Rain, is that a true friendship is stronger than any emotion of the human character that corrupts, even hates, emotions like distrust, fear, beliefs that one race is better than another, and intolerance/5(1).
Waiting for the Rain Themes Sheila Gordon This Study Guide consists of approximately 24 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Waiting for the Rain.
Waiting for the Rain is a young adult novel by South African-born American writer Sheila Gordon, first published in It tells the story of two boys, one black and one white, growing up on a farm in South Africa during apartheid. As the boys mature, their friendship dissipates because the black boy seeks political equality while the white boy wants everything to stay the same.
Gordon's story walks the fine line between exploration of topical material and riveting narrative. Tengo, a black child on a South African farm, grows up fairly friendly with Frikkie, the blond Afrikaaner child who will one day inherit the property.