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Whether or Not We Should Allow Gun Reform

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Amogh Ayalasomayajula

Mr. Boegman

English 10 Honors Period 3

25 April 2017

Fear vs. Sorrow

Franklin D. Roosevelt once preached “The Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Paton argues this same idea through characters in Cry, The Beloved Country. Father Vincent says “My friend, your anxiety turned to fear, and your fear turned to sorrow.  But sorrow is better than fear.  For fear impoverishes always, while sorrow may enrich” (140). The unknown causes fear. Because of this, when people are in fear, they do not know how to deal with it. However, because sorrow occurs in sadness of what has occurred, sorrow allows you to take action. Father Vincent corroborates this when he says “When the storm threatens, a man is afraid for his house. But when the house is destroyed, there is something to do. About a storm he can do nothing, but he can rebuild a house”(140). Msimangu states “For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much”(111).  While fear makes people more cautious, it also blinds them as to what they need to do.

Kumalo, for example, has bee scared from since when the young girl handed him a letter from Johannesburg. He is scared that those close to him have gone amiss. The fear he experiences all stem from what he does not know. If they had written more often, even if he would disapprove of their actions, he wouldn’t be so worried.


Fear is a stress regarding an unknown outcome. If one finds the desirable outcome, one feels relief; if one finds the feared outcome, one feels sorrow or distress. An example of the latter is found near the beginning of Book 1: “He looked at Kumalo. ‘It would be truer to say,’ he said, ‘that she has many husbands.’ Kumalo said, ‘Tixo! Tixo!’”(53). Though Kumalo reacts adversely, he moves from fear to sorrow. He is no longer speculating about Gertrude’s actions. He has the answer, distasteful as it may be, and his anxiety dissipates. “Fear is a journey, a terrible journey, but sorrow is at least an arriving” (140), Father Vincent says. Kumalo approaches the end of his journey, as he knows Absalom’s crimes. Now, he fears the consequences Absalom will face for his deeds. One journey may be completed, but another one starts where the first left off.



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