A Literary Review of Alan Paton’s Story, Cry the Beloved Country with Focus on the Journey to Freedom

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

Cry the Beloved Country

In the book, Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, many character seek forgiveness. Absolom, Gertrude, and Arthur Jarvis all divert away from what they were taught. This is ultimately how they ask for redemption.

Absolom grew up in the valley with a parson as a father. He moves to Johannesburg and throws away all his morals he had grown up knowing. After he had shot Arthur Jarvis, he said “I only have this to say that I likes this man but I did not mean to kill this man, I was only afraid.” (Paton 202) Even though he did shoot a man, which was against everything he had been taught, he asked for forgiveness and redemption for his actions. He knew that he did something wrong, and he knew that he knew better than to do this and this is why he asks for forgiveness.

Gertrud, being Stephen Kumalo’s sister, grew up in the same household as him, therefore had the same morals. Similar to Absolom, she let those morals go when she moved to Johannesburg. When Kumalo went to the city to see his sister, the narrator said “Nor he could expect her to talk with him about the deep things that were in Johannesburg; for it was amongst these very things that saddened and perplexed him, that she had found her life and occupation.” (Paton 92) This quote is referring to the life that Gertrude lives and the job that she has. She is a prostitute and brews liquor. These are totally against the Christian morals she was raised on. She asks for forgiveness because this life she lives goes against her Christian upbringing and the morals that she used to live by.

James Jarvis also went against what he had learned as a child, but this was for the better. He had been raised to not associate with non-Europeans, but now he asks for forgiveness by acting against that notion. He sent a letter to a partner of Arthur’s who had been working with him toward the equal treatment of non-Europeans. The letter said “Do all the things you and Arthur wanted to do. If you like to call in the ‘Arthur Jarvis Club’ I’ll be pleased.” (Paton 247) On the reverse side of the letter, there was a large check attached. This is James’s way of asking for forgiveness by giving back to a cause he had once been against.

Absolom, Gertrude, and James Jarvis all asked for redemption. They had also all branched away from what they had been taught, some for worse and some for better.

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