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Cry, The Beloved Country

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The time period of the publication of Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton coincides with the transitional era prior to the official beginning of the apartheid that lasted a few decades in the South African history. This period in the South Africa was important for the history of the country because it determined the future of the direction chosen by the nation. Those were the years when despite the fact that things were bad, there still was hope about the future of Africa and its people. This feeling of hope, regardless of the terrible conditions that the black Africans had to deal with, is one of the central ideas in the Paton's novel. The author points out to the problems of social and political injustice, as well as the racial discrimination in the African society at the time.

By drawing the parallel between the destinies and actions of the main characters, Paton expresses his own opinion in regards to what can and must be done in Africa, in order to overcome its crises.

Although the novel, Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton was written before the official implementation of the discriminatory policy of apartheid in the South Africa, the author clearly shows the existence of significant racial discrimination against the black population. The description of the social conditions given through the words of Stephen Kumalo foreshadows the turbulences and the implementation of the segregation system: "And some cry for the cutting up of South Africa without delay into separate areas, where white can live without black, and black without white..."(109). The racist attitudes towards the black South Africans are also expressed through the white characters such as John Harrison's father throughout the novel, as well as the description of the accustomed ways of life.

By drawing a parallel between the main protagonists, Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis, Paton presents a symbolic path that both the blacks and the whites must take in order for the whole country to unite and awaken. Both characters go through dynamic evolution throughout the novel. Stephen Kumalo starts his path as a naпve, rural priest, who wishes to reunite his family by brining his sister, Gertrude and his son, Absalom back. In the process of his journey, he loses his naivety by facing the consequences of his son's failure. Although he loses his son, who was finally hung for killing Arthur Jarvis, Kumalo discovers a newfound maturity and wisdom. His effort to reunite his family is comparable to his wish to reunite his people, the black South Africans among themselves and with the whites. Kumalo is coming to realization of that while listening to Msimangu, "I see only one hope for our country, and that is when white men and black men, desiring neither power nor money, but desiring only the good of their country, come together to work for it" (71). Through the burden of guilt and shame for his son, disappointment in his brother, and his nephew John, who betrayed Absalom, Kumalo finds strength to overcome his pain and open his eyes to see that there are people on the other side, on the white side, who also want to help awaken the country.

On the other hand, James Jarvis also goes through the evolution and finds the wisdom at the end. He is portrayed



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