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what is the summary of shades marguerite poland from chapter one to chapter twenty nine?
Marguerite Poland's Shades begins with a brief hint about the "Shades" or Ancestors and their influence upon the life of a group of people at St Matthias Mission somewhere beyond the Keiskamma Hoek area of the Eastern Cape. It is a work of art and, [ as with all works of art, it does not do to compare the accuracy of the background to real history or to the real culture of the Xhosa people. It
is roughly correct but not necessarily fully so. Indeed, you will always find discrepancies. It is better to accept the story for what it is: an imaginary tale that has a semi-real historical and cultural milieu as its backdrop. The Shades or Shadows are the spirits of the ancestors which are capable of influencing the fortunes of the people still living upon this earth. It is a point made later in the novel that, upon the death of someone, his or her body -- or at least the spirit of that dead person -- must be transported back to its ancestral home. Failure to do this would cause the spirit to wander aimlessly, causing mischief to all concerned. The story opens with a graphic description of Walter Brownley's emotions upon his arrival in the Keiskamma Hoek area. He feels abandoned. In his first journal entry, he speaks of "an odd sense of predestination". He is determined to leave before it controls him. "I shall leave before I am its victim," he writes. What was it that caused this fear? The novel only hints at the historical circumstances. Back in the early 19th century, warfare devastated this region that was formerly a frontier between the Xhosa and the Cape Colony. The conflict was brutal. British superiority in weaponry was matched by the sheer weight of Xhosa numbers. The battles, however, left thousands of dead bodies strewn across the countryside -- bodies that would never be buried but would be left as the prey of hyenas and other predators. According to the novel, if the bones remained thus unclaimed -- and the spirits of the dead were not taken back to their ancestral homes -- then they would continue to haunt the region, bringing about the mischief of the "Shades". It would seem that it is the presence of these Shades which affects Walter's mood as he approaches St Matthias. He feels them. ]
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