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A full generation younger than Stephen—a result of their parents having a child late in life—Gertrude falls into many of the same traps that Stephen's son does in moving to the big city. Originally leaving Ndotsheni in search of her missing husband, Gertrude is drawn in by the fast pace and seedy lifestyle of Johannesburg and gives up much of her dignity and freedom as a result. Though she appears to have a change of heart in the course of the novel, Paton doesn't wrap her story up completely and we are never sure what her final choice is.

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