Cry beloved country essay

SparkNotes: Cry, the Beloved Country: Character List
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  1. by Alan Paton
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  3. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
  4. Essay: Cry, the Beloved Country

Paton uses two contrasting places to present his view of South Africa while suggesting solutions.

JOHN BARRY 'Cry The Beloved Country' Complete Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 1995

The desolate village of Ndotsheni. Despite the violence depicted amongst the whites and blacks of South Africa, in Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton reconciliation and the spirit of unity present themselves through two men: Reverend Kumalo and James Jarvis. To be able to reconcile and unite with others, people must first be able to look inward and come to peace with themselves.

by Alan Paton

One of the main struggles throughout Cry, The Beloved Country emanates from within the characters, as they try to come to terms with events. During his journey, he discovers and learns of the injustices in South Africa. Through the parallels and contradictions of biblical allusions, Alan Paton is able to explain the impact of racial inequality in South Africa, but signifies how unconditional love and hope. In his novel, Paton examines the negative impacts of fear, namely prejudice and corruption.

Set in South Africa, the main character, reverend Stephen Kumalo, observes the stark contrast between his poor village and the cosmopolitan city. One comparable aspect that can be found in both novels is the many similar themes explored throughout both novels. Many of these themes are prominent throughout literature. When comparing identical themes from two diverse authors, one can understand and appreciate these differences and similarities. Although these themes are commonly discussed, Paton and Faulkner have distinct methods in which the messages. As powerful white men use the land for their own benefit, the tribal system of the African natives is broken down and replaced by poverty, homelessness, fear, and violence.

A black priest, Stephen Kumalo, ventures to the great city of Johannesburg in search of his lost sister and son.

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His journey demonstrates the unhealthy lifestyle and mutinous atmosphere of the black people; yet he is the beholder of forgiveness, love, hope, and the restoration of a country overwhelmed with problems. The blacks in big cities, such as Johannesburg, are fearful of white men because they have all the power.

They own the mines and factories, and make and carry …show more content….

So I shot him. I did not mean to kill him. By not sacrificing power, the whites are bringing this fear upon themselves. Future generations will have to deal with these issues which are left unsolved by a power hungry nation. And if problems are left unsettled for too long, hatred may establish a permanent residence in South Africa.

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

With no genuine aspirations, the power is corrupt and no one will benefit. The situation is slightly ironic because the two men are on their way to hear John Kumalo speak. John has no sincerity in his political work, but enjoys the command and importance he gains as an influential speaker.

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Arthur Jarvis was working on plans that would give the native a sense of direction and worth, but his life was cut short by the very forces that he was working to improve. The novel is not only a study of social problems but also a study in human relationships. Kumalo, interested at first only in reuniting his own family, comes to understand the greater problems facing his race. In such a novel as this, the absorbing social message must be realized by vivid, human characters in order to make the theme memorable.


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Many of the ideas of the novel are presented through the suffering of Kumalo. In fact, through suffering, several persons undergo a significant change. James Jarvis, through the suffering he undergoes as a result of the death of his son, learns to understand his son, whom he had not previously really known.


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  4. Furthermore, he comes to a better understanding of his own self, and finally he develops an understanding of the social situation of the entire country. As a result of this suffering and consequent understanding, he becomes a reformed man and continues the work begun by his deceased son by contributing to projects intended to improve the state of the natives. Likewise, Kumalo undergoes tremendous suffering through the death of his son, Absalom.

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    Essay: Cry, the Beloved Country

    He is disillusioned by finding his sister and then his son in desperate and degenerate conditions; still later he has to face the death of his son, a shattering experience which brings him to understand many more of the complexities of life. He realizes that man cannot live simply by the old values; instead, he has to work toward creating new and different values of equal importance.

    Thus, he returns to his village with a flew understanding of life and of the basic nature of the change taking place in South Africa. Embedded in these ideas is the contrast between the old and the new generations. In the Harrison family, the old man will never change. But with Kumalo and Jarvis, we see both undergoing a tremendous change as a result of the change that took place in each one's son.

    Furthermore, Kumalo recognizes that if there is to be a permanent change, it must come through the new generation, and he places all his hopes on Gertrude's boy and the child that is to be born to Absalom's wife. At the beginning of the novel, most of the problems are attributed to the fact that man is separated from the land and that the land is becoming a waste land.