Analysis Of The Alan Paton’s Style in Cry, The Beloved Country
Paton’s use of style in Cry the beloved Country creates a deeper meaning for the reader to fully grasp and understand what Paton is trying to say. Paton explores the struggles of society in South Africa. Paton uses style to show that men that become separated from others are prone to conflict and corruption. Paton’s style uses symbols of separation to show the conflict between an independent man versus one that brings people together. Stephen Kumalo represents community ideals with strong roots in family and religion. Stephen Kumalo has a community backing him and he is a good priest that his people look up to. The people that choose to be separated from their home and leave for Johannesburg often become corrupt and plagued by problems. “This Johannesburg- it is no place for a boy to be left alone”. Johannesburg and the people within it represent selfishness and corruption. John Kumalo goes to Johannesburg and separates himself from God and becomes a corrupt politician. The white men control the mines and are not willing to help out the miners, fueling the hated between the whites and the blacks. Gertrude has chosen to separate herself from family values and begins sleeping around because she is not strong enough to support herself. As someone in power, John Kumalo pushes for his own interests rather than the interests of society; he further separates himself from others. Stephen Kumalo works with others around him and it often creates a better outcome for himself. For example, Stephen Kumalo agrees to not take the bus in support of changing the fare back to four pence. Stephen agrees and later a white man picks them up and helps them. Stephen Kumalo represents community whereas the people in Johannesburg represent isolation. Paton includes symbolism in his style to show the conflicts that arise for people that have become separated.
Paton’s style includes various amounts of detail to show the amount of separation in his story. The style chooses an omniscient narrator voice at times to give lots of detail and show exactly what people are thinking. An omniscient point of view from white people in South Africa separates the black people who are viewed lower than them and contrasts it with the powerful omniscient point of view that seems to come from above. “Don’t you think that more schooling would only produce more criminals”? In this contrast and separation however, the reader can see that because the white people are separating themselves from the blacks, the white people a part of the problem too and not the solution. Paton can also switch his level of detail by excluding it. Paton excludes the details of certain character names such as Absalom’s pregnant girlfriend. The style of this amount of detail separates the person from their individual personality and identity. By separating that character from their unique identity and leaving her to be anonymous, it creates the message to the reader that the girl could be anyone at that time. Paton’s style of varying the amount of detail can create the sense of separation within the society and the problems that arise because of it.
Paton’s style uses contrasts between love and fear to create separation between man and show their respective outcomes. Love and fear are constantly seen throughout the novel. The two are quite opposite from each other. Choices made through love can bring people together but choices made through fear drive people apart. Stephen and Absalom Kumalo are both related but they are surrounded by two very different things. Stephen Kumalo makes his decisions out of love and care. He sacrifices a lot of money that was once saved for a college education in order to go help Gertrude. After seeing Gertrude’s living conditions and the person that she has become, he is not disgusted by her but rather he is willing to take her into his care and provide for her because he loves her. Gertrude also loves herself and agrees to go with Stephen. This is contrasted with the fear that surrounds Absalom. Absalom is consumed in fear and bases his decisions in fear. “I was afraid, I was afraid”. He separates himself from his family and love and joins the contrast of love, fear. Through his separation of love, Absalom becomes afraid and in his fear kills Arthur Jarvis.
Paton’s style of using contrast between love and fear shows that separation from those that love you create negative situations. Paton makes deliberate choices in his style to create a deeper meaning for the reader to understand. Paton utilizes a style full symbols of separation between man to show their different routes and outcomes. Paton’s style includes varying the amount of detail given at a certain time to create a deeper meaning. Paton manages to show that less detail does not necessarily mean less information for the reader. Paton’s style utilizes contrast to show the separation between two people and how different they are. Paton’s style made his message more clear and meaningful by allowing the reader to see farther than just the text on the page. Paton has great artistic merit in the choices that he has made.
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