Cry the Beloved Country
Wealth And Poverty – Separation in Thoughts
In the novel Cry, the beloved country, division, and separation in South Africa plays an influential role in the plot of the novel. The first incident of racial division can be found in chapter three when Kumalo takes a train from Ndotsheni to Johannesburg. Since most of the white people have cars of their own, the trains are mainly used by black people. Still, the train is divided into sections for Europeans and natives, the native section ‘was full of black travellers’. Likewise is true in chapter Likewise is shown to be true in chapter 7 for the facilities in the city. In Johannesburg, Europeans have high buildings, well-maintained houses, and sanitized hospitals. However in native communities, “people [can be found] lying on the floors. [natives] lie so close you cannot step over them.”
Finally, the novel shows the rise of shanty towns, which are the result of nonwhites being pushed to the edges of their cities, where housing is unattainable. We can see more systematic racism through the areas allocated for the natives and how they are separated from the white population. Alexandra, Sophiatown, or Orlando are all examples of places where native black people are allowed to live, despite the six-year waiting list. The shanty towns are full of crime and sickness, hopeless people commit violations to trying to escape from poverty. Men are tossed in jail, are killed, increasing the fear, and poverty – and then the cycle continues.
This process is shown throughout the character of Absalom, and how he messes with the law and kills because of fear. All of the aforementioned examples demonstrate how separation and division affect the people of South Africa.In chapter three, Stephen Kumalo is taking the train to Johannesburg. We hear about “the Europeans of district all have their cars, and hardly travel by train anymore’.
This quotation illustrates the wealth separation, which uncovers the apparent abundance of riches on the European side of life and the poverty on the other side. This also demonstrates how traveling by train is the only way many natives are able to travel long distances. “The section for non-Europeans, already full of people of his race”, unlike the European section which was abandoned by many for a car. Clear systematic racism can be found here, the train is split by skin color. This division between races is reinforced by the law. While Stephen Kumalo faces systematic division on the train, new and fancy facilities in Johnsburg are meant to benefit the European of South Africa.
Similarities and Differences Between Kumalo and Jarvis in in Cry, the Beloved Country
Similarities and Differences Between Kumalo and Jarvis
In the novel ¨Cry The Beloved Country¨ by Alan Paton, a white man named James Jarvis and a native man Stephen Kumalo has many differences and similarities. A man who judges natives and is also a farmer, was told that his son died by the hand of a native, and a native who was looking for his son to finally figure out he killed a white man’s son and will be hanged for what he did.
One similarity is that both of them is going through the heaviest thing in their life because Jarvis” son is dead because of Absalom and Absalom is going to be hanged for killing a white man. Another similarity is that they both live in Ndotsheni but one lives in the rich valleys and the other lives in the poor area of Ndotsheni but they both love and care about where they live. After Kumalo’s son, Absalom kills Jarvis son, Arthur, Kumalo goes to speak with James Jarvis in Johannesburg. Kumalo broaches the subject in an indirect manner, saying that “this thing that is the heaviest thing of all my years, is the heaviest thing of all your years also.”(Pg.213)James understands at once what he means and says, «I have heard you. I understand what I did not understand. There is no anger in me.”(Pg.214)The difference between Kumalo and Jarvis is that Kumalo is just a poor old man who is an Umfundisi for a church on the poor side of Ndotsheni and the dirt for them was red because it was erosion so they couldn’t grow crops there». Jarvis was a rich racist who judged natives lived on the top of the mountain where he owns a farm with beautiful grass that is well tended that has very little animals that live there.
Both fathers look to understand something about their sons. Kumalo struggles to talk with Absalom about killing another person. James attempts to get to know his son through his son’s book that he was writing and through his son’s private papers and library, the things he didn’t know about him before his son died. Both fathers grieved over the losses of their son’s, are only truly reconciled when James helps Stephen rebuild his church, and Kumalo became friends with Arthur’s only child. The city of Johannesburg destroyed both of their families apart but outside of the city broken families can be healed again. In the end both Kumalo and Jarvis would wish that there kid can be home with them if they were still alive.
In conclusion even though both Kumalo and Jarvis have been through rough times both had put their differences aside and the both became friends. Both have attained knowledge from their trip to Johannesburg.
Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country
Can you just imagine living in a world where racism is not only rampant, but legally forced. Racism stems that one race is more superior to the other which results in different ways people are treated. Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country points out that in South Africa, racism is a very big problem. And it has become worse because of the segregation laws that are being implied in the biggest and most developed city of the country. In this novel, segregation is known as the separation of housing and opportunities people get based on their race.
Cry the Beloved Country takes place during the time period of growing racial tension in South Africa. The novel is set in pre apartheid time period. This novel shows that non-whites are pushed towards the fringes of their own city, where housing is almost impossible to find. And therefore they are forced to live in temporary camps that quickly become their permanent shelter. This outskirt of the town is full of crime and sickness, which only worsens the poverty of the non-whites that are living there. Children die, women start doing work for men to earn money for their family, people commit crime in the seek of money, men are thrown in jail, increasing the resentment and poverty of the non-whites. Apartheid was the government’s policy of racial segregation between Europeans and non-Europeans in Johannesburg.
The main goal of the Apartheid was to create a difference between the Europeans and non – Europeans in most of the activities that took place in the city, such as in education, housing and employment. The first incident of racial divide that we see in the novel is when Stephen Kumalo takes a train from Ndotenshi to Johannesburg. Most of the white people have their own cars and that is why the trains are mostly filled with black people. But even though the white people have their own valuable source of transport, the train has been divided into 2 parts, Europeans and non-Europeans. The non-Europeans part is more crowded as very few black people can afford their own source of transport. The Europeans section in the train is considered to have more comfort compared to the non-Europeans section. The same can be said true for the facilities that are available in the city of Johannesburg.
The workers in the gold mines build modern buildings, beautiful houses and a functional and working hospital for the Europeans. Whereas in the black community, you will be lucky to find a roof above your head. Houses are not even close to what the black community offers. There is a hospital where you can find people lying on the floor, so close to each other that it is like a mission to not step over them. The black families go to Sophiatown, because that is the only place where they are allowed to live. But upon reaching there, they find a long waiting list to get a house, in meantime 2 or more families rent space in the same house or people build small tents for themselves to live in. The conditions in the city not only expose the black people to the difficult life in Johannesburg but also lack of resources lead majority of black men to get involved in crime.
Repetition Is Key: Style and Meaning in Cry, the Beloved Country
Repetition is key to the dramatic effect in chapter 12 of Cry, the Beloved Country. Three important things are repeated: the title of the novel, the laws, and separation. Repetition makes very clear the point that the author, Alan Paton, is conveying: the people of South Africa need help. The repetition of phrases, ideas, or themes in chapter 12 show how the people of South Africa need someone to take action, to create useful laws, and to unite the black and white inhabitants in peace.
In chapter 12, the repetition of the title, “Cry the Beloved Country”, is an obvious demonstration of the desperation of the citizens of South Africa. “Cry, the beloved country. These things are not yet at an end,” declares Stephen Kumalo on page 105, near the end of chapter 11. This is the first time the title of the book is mentioned in the text, but it is not the last. “Cry, the beloved country” is said often throughout all of chapter 12. Repetition is a powerful tool because it shows the strong desire to be heard. Many children, if they believe they have not been heard the first time, will repeat their question over and over again until someone grants their request. When these children grow up, they typically learn to be patient and only repeat their questions when absolutely necessary. The murder of an engineer, Mr. Arthur Jarvis, requires the natives of South Africa to revert back to their childlike state of repetition. Mr. Jarvis was president of the African Boys Club, a faithful layman to the church, and a fighter for justice. This shows the despair in the hearts of the natives. When they turn back to childlike tendencies, it shows their great need for help in the same way that children often need help. When Kumalo and the other Africans repeat that phrase “cry, the beloved country,” it is a demand for the natives to take action. Despite the arguing and disagreeing of the vignettes in chapter 12, repetition shows the common want of the people of South Africa.
Many of the vignettes in chapter 12 feature both white men of Johannesburg proposing ideas of how to prevent the violence that led to Mr. Jarvis’ death. Although Jarvis’ death is not explicitly mention in the vignettes, the conversations suggest that his death is what prompted them. One common thing mentioned is the laws. On page 108, we see a conversation between one man, “Jackson”, and another man who remains unnamed. The unnamed man says, “They should enforce the pass laws, Jackson,” to which Jackson replies, “But I tell you the pass laws don’t work.” The recurring topic of laws and their inadequacy is noticeable. Without sufficient laws, the people are left to repeat a cry calling for action. Earlier in the chapter, a man is giving a speech and asks his audience, “Which do we prefer, a law-abiding, industrious and purposeful native people, or a lawless, idle, and purposeless people?” This line shows that Jackson is not the only South African that believes there is no real law governing the blacks. Again, repetition is key in this chapter, showing just how many people, despite their disagreements on how to achieve it, all deep-down want the same thing. In this case, it is a law that will keep both blacks and whites safe and purposeful.
The ignorance of some characters portrayed in chapter 12 shows the importance of peace between blacks and whites without need for segregation. When a vignette in chapter 12 describes a conversation of a rich, white man or woman they often consider segregation as a way for peace. One white, after taking her children to Zoo Lake asked, “I really don’t see why they can’t have separate days for natives.” The ignorance of this woman, who declared it to be “impossible” to take her children to Zoo Lake when natives are there, shows why the laws to protect natives, end violence, and protect whites are not effective. It takes an effort from both blacks and white to create and understanding between the two, and this woman is a clear demonstration of the lack of that. Throughout the rest of that paragraph and other paragraphs in that chapter, the whites refer to the natives as “creatures”. By repeating the use of the word “creatures” alongside the white’s desire for separation, Paton shows how ignorant the whites were of the blacks’ conditions. The woman was disgusted by the blacks in zoo lake, despite the fact that there was no where else for them to go. That ignorance is why the natives must cry for their beloved country to take action.
If one of the leaders like John Kumalo, Dubula, or Tomlinson would enact something to help those people, peace without segregation could be possible. Repetition, where such themes are concerned, is deployed in chapter 12 to create a dramatic effect. It shows the desire and despair in the hearts of the South Africans. Through the similar thoughts of the characters in chapter 12 the eyes of the reader are opened to the necessity of good leadership and laws for the natives and Europeans both.
The Home and Family in The House on Mango Street and Cry, the Beloved Country
The House on Mango Street and Cry, the Beloved Country both involve themes emphasizing the home and family. From the old umfundisi seeking for his prodigal son to Esperanza searching and wanting a place of her own, both of these prolific stories involve how one reacts to the attraction of home and family. These novels have different writing styles and different ideas about the home as a place of refuge and belonging and these ideas are shown throughout each story. Over all, it is the main characters who show through their experiences why they desire to come back to a place they call home.In The House on Mango Street, Esperanza communicates through her experiences that “home” is a dream that looks bleak from the poverty of Mango Street. For example, she says, “I knew then I had to have a real house. A real house. One I could point to. But this isn’t it. The House on Mango Street isn’t it. For the time being, Mama says. Temporary says Papa. But I know how those things go” (Cisneros, 5). For Esperanza, a real home is something distant and cloudy, something she can only look forward to in her dreams. Esperanza really desires a home where she can feel like she belongs, a home not just solid on the outside, but on the inside as well. In addition, the poverty on Mango Street causes more heartache for Esperanza and makes her dream even more sorrowful. For example, the shame Esperanza feels when a nun asks her where she lives is shown in her words: “There. I had to look where she was pointing – the third floor, the paint peeling, wooden bars Papa had nailed on the windows so we wouldn’t fall out” (Cisneros, 5). The mortification Esperanza feels from having to point to the apartment over a “laundromat” with peeling paint and barred windows causes much shame and further solidifies her dream for a “real” house. Here we see the main theme of the novel and one that is woven around the story: Esperanza’s desire to find a physical and emotional space of her own, a place to call home. For Esperanza, her experiences on the poverty – stricken Mango Street shame her, until her dream of a real house is just that.In Cry, the Beloved Country, the old parson’s journey to Johannesburg and back portrays how the author, Alan Paton, felt about the unity and importance of family and nations. For example, a major theme that Paton develops is that family life in South Africa is broken; he illustrates this primarily through the Kumalo family, but then also mentions other instances of broken families, like the Jarvis family. The troubles mentioned in Johannesburg help Kumalo to realize that villages such as Ixopo and the nation of South Africa in general need to be reunited. This is portrayed in another way through the poverty – filled streets of Johannesburg and through the work of Arthur Jarvis, who wrote so the nation of South Africa might come together. In addition, the author makes the journey of Kumalo the central idea to branch off, showing how it is the family that makes up the home. Like Esperanza, Kumalo dreams of a house, not a house of his own, but a house united by family. This is a key difference between the main characters of each novel; Esperanza wants a house strong on the outside, one that appears beautiful, while Kumalo wants a house strong on the inside, one that is united by family. Paton seeks to show the importance of a united family by portraying the sights that Kumalo sees while on his journey to find his son.Both of these interesting novels provide insights into the culture that surrounded the time that these books were written, and it is the culture that provides background and ideas for each novel. For example, the adjustment of Esperanza as she moves from place to place was a predominant issue for every Latina girl who was poor. The way Cisneros used Esperanza as a narrator helped the readers to understand the problems ethnic families, especially Hispanics faced in big cities. This was a major factor and underlying theme that Cisneros wanted to show in her novel: the hardships facing a poor Latina girl. In addition, Paton attempts to weave the concept of apartheid, a key argument for South Africa, throughout the parson’s journey to exemplify the need for the unity of races. Paton intended to remind the reader of the real reason of the hatred and poverty of Johannesburg and other countries: the hatred of one race for another. As Msimangu says, “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” (Paton, 460). This theme is again conveyed in Msimangu’s words, “I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving, they will find we are turned to hating.” Both authors provide cultural references and insertions to help the reader understand the reasons for the writing of each novel.These novels were written by authors who intended to send a message to the people of their day. Although the times are later and the ideas have changed, these books still hold forth truths to heed. Alan Paton seemed to say, “hold on to your family and appreciate them, they may not be around later.” And as for Esperanza, she seems to say that we should value our family, strive for something better, and never lose you dreams. Both authors seem to want all readers to remember that the journey of life through the big city is hard, but with family united by love it is like coming home again.
Footprints in the Sand
“‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?'” (Matthew 7:3). Scholars are fast to uphold the severe wisdom of this advice, yet very few are entirely capable of following it. Numerous authors have written upon this topic, one of whom is Alan Paton, author of Cry, the Beloved Country. Many debates have been sparked by this book due to Paton’s ability to examine the plank in his eye, South Africa. Even the essence of the book’s title examines South Africa and declares the presence of the inner conflict of its citizens. The importance and meaning of the title of Cry, the Beloved Country is visible in Paton’s efforts to link the reader to forthcoming ideas in the novel, Paton’s description of South Africa’s problems, and Paton’s prayer for the solution of South Africa’s difficulties with race and racial oppression.One way Paton connects the reader to the racial tension in the novel is through the repetition of the thematic title throughout key events in the novel. Paton often uses the wording of the title within the text to express the pain inflicted by South Africa’s moral conflict, racial segregation and oppression. Paton uses the repetition to connect events in the story with the overall theme, altering the context slightly each time. At one point, Paton expresses the anguish of the broken African society and the transformation and assimilation into a white man’s society of hatred and separation. Paton pleads, “Cry for the broken tribe, for the law and the custom that is gone. Aye, and cry aloud for the man who is dead, for the woman and children bereaved. Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end” (Paton 73-74). By creating links between major events and minor characters, Paton’s repetition slowly delves into one’s mind and leaves the indelible mark of a quest for liberty and freedom so that one again views the title, it is as if one sees the cover for the first time, and one realizes how much is held in the few words of “cry, the beloved country.”Another way Alan Paton relates the title of Cry, the Beloved Country to the subject matter of the story is through personal identification with the reader’s feelings. Paton plays upon the maternal or paternal instincts within everyone, finding a chord and playing upon it, evoking fear or wisdom or sadness through his powerfully chosen yet simple words. At one point, Stephen Kumalo searches for his son in the wide streets of Johannesburg. He fears that his son has done something terribly bad, and for the reverend, this is almost more than he can bear. Paton narrates, “Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeplyÖFor fear will rob him of all if he gives too much” (Paton 80). The reverend’s despair is evident in his fear of love for the earth and that which lies within the earth. Because of the appearance of the book’s title at such a critical juncture, one cannot keep oneself hereafter from connecting the title of the book to this point in the novel.On the other hand, Paton delves into South Africa’s problems with unity and erosion, conveying a sense of how a beautiful country is going to waste due to petty morals. Paton brings up the controversy of apartheid and inequality present in a country that cannot rise from the past, yet tries to participate in the present. When James Jarvis reads the work of his deceased son, Arthur, he finds shocking evidence and realizations of what the white men have done to South Africa in the name of improvement. Arthur wrote convincingly about the fault of white men for inflicting segregation and causing nothing but harm because of it. Arthur wrote, “It is true that we hoped to preserve the tribal system by a policy of segregation. That was permissible. But we never did it thoroughly or honestlyÖWe are caught in toils of our own selfishness” (Paton 146). Because of the white man’s desire to separate the black men from the white men, a system filled with flaws has resulted, causing the white men more trouble than good in their struggle against a system of their own creation.Another explanation of Cry, the Beloved Country can be found when one researches into the history of segregation and white man’s oppression of “inferior races” in the name of Christianity. Paton discusses the hypocrisy of a race of men who strive to make the world better and proclaim equality for all, yet cannot accept another human being as a man. In the last speech that Arthur Jarvis wrote before he was murdered by Stephen Kumalo’s son, Arthur realized that white men have oppressed the blacks “for their own good” and with a perfect belief that what they are doing is acceptable and just because the Africans are not human, and therefore do not deserve all the rights the white men deserve. Arthur proclaims, “The truth is that our Christian civilization is riddled through and through with dilemma. We believe in the brotherhood of man, but we do not want it in South Africa” (Paton 154). The truth that Paton reveals through the medium of Arthur Jarvis is that South Africa has a double-standard: one standard for the rights of man all over the world, the other for the rights of man within South Africa. Somehow, these two ideas are not even comparable, even falling under entirely different categories of humanity.Later, Paton deals with South Africa’s racial troubles before one page has even been turned. A conflict is present in the very title, Cry, the Beloved Country. Paton uses this simple phrase time and again to express grief and hope over South Africa’s stale position, a position that has long been lost in the bitter tangle of oppression and segregation. When the African community discovers that the white government is considering a complete segregation of the country, there are extremely mixed reactions evoked by the finality of such a step. Paton quips, “Yes, there are a hundred, and a thousand voices crying. But what does one do, when one cries this thing, and one cries another? Who knows how we shall fashion a land of peace where black outnumbers white so greatly?” (Paton 78). The common verb, to cry, appears here also, in the reaction of the fearful and outraged native peoples. One discovers that the title conveys these reactions that, though they vary as much as the colors in the rainbow, all share a sense of deep sadness, a searing loss of pride and unity.Another example of Paton’s hope for unity can be found in a call to prayer. Often, when the characters of the book are involved in huge inner struggles, they turn to prayer, finding peace and the strength to wait for the greater solution that lies beyond, though they cannot see it with their mortal eyes. While Reverend Kumalo wrestles with the horridness of the murder his son has committed, Father Vincent helps him to focus on the greater picture, to hope for others, to pray for others who can see no end to their difficulties drawing near. Father Vincent aides Kumalo with an outsider’s perspective, convincing Kumalo to pray for those who cannot reach out for prayer. Father Vincent advises, “‘And why you go on, when it would seem better to die, that is a secret. Do not pray and think about these things now, there will be other times. Pray for Gertrude, and for her child, and for the girl that is to be your son’s wife, and for the child that will be your grandchild'” (Paton 110). Paton’s advice is nothing less than wisdom, helping others to see the greater picture without despair. “Cry, the beloved country,” he seems to say, “but pray also. Pray for the beloved country, for its improvement, and its rebirth.”Through the creation of a parallel with the reader, an in-depth study of South Africa’s difficulties, and a strong hope for the solution of racial segregation, one discovers the true meaning of Cry, the Beloved Country. One discovers Alan Paton’s gift of expression through the telling of a man’s epic journey through life, a man who finally discovers the meaning of love and loss, though he leaves nothing but footprints in the blowing sand. Each day, in every part of the world, one more person learns to live and to love, to feel from the bottom of one’s heart for a land so beautiful that no words can describe the attraction for fear it will appear fickle. After all, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
The Interrelated Structure of Cry, the Beloved Country
Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country exhibits the effects of living in Johannesburg; though it is a city divided by race, its inhabitants lead parallel lives (Cry, the Beloved Country 33-312). The lives of the two main characters, Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis, are first depicted separately, giving each a quality of distinctness and independence (33-210). When Kumalo and Jarvis meet, however, it is clear that they parallel one another, leading similar lifestyles and experiencing similar tragedies (33-216). The underlying element of style throughout Cry, the Beloved Country is subtle symbolism, for there are significant details whose importance are not immediately obvious. Cry, the Beloved Country is composed of three books, each structured to give insight into the separate lives Kumalo and Jarvis, while subtly showing how each life is interrelated (33-312). The first book describes the plight of Stephen Kumalo, a native of South Africa, as he journeys through Johannesburg. It introduces Kumalo as the protagonist and sets up the framework for the conflicts he soon encounters. Johannesburg acts as both the setting and the antagonist, for it is where racism, crime, and poverty dwell, and is the source of Kumalo’s misery (33-312). Its effects are seen in the quote, ìCry for the broken tribe, for the law and the custom is goneÖCry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an endî (105). That Kumalo discovers his sister’s prostitution, his brother’s superficiality, and his son’s criminal activities in Johannesburg shows the city to have entrapped his family, as well as its inhabitants, into a stage of declining morality (33-312). The second book shows James Jarvis as he mourns for his murdered son. The change in point of view to concentrate on Jarvis’ character adds depth to Cry, the Beloved Country, showing a reaction to the crime committed by Absalom, Kumalo’s son. Because Jarvis’ actions and emotions are seen, he becomes an active character (161-312). The climatic scene occurs when Kumalo and Jarvis meet for the first time, representing the confrontation of emotion and tension each person has felt since their discovery of the murder (211-216). When Kumalo says, ìÖThis thing is the heaviest thing of all my years, is the heaviest thing of all your years alsoî (214), he is trying to show Jarvis that both are grieving over their sons and are in similar circumstances. This confrontation signifies the parallel between the two men’s lives (33-216). The third book exists for Kumalo and Jarvis to come to a resolution to their situation. There were factors, such as the prevalence of racism and the irony that his murdered son was a defender of the social injustices of natives, that would have supported Jarvis’ hatred for Kumalo (253-312). When Jarvis says, ìI have seen a manÖwho was in darkness till you found him. If that is what you do, I give it willinglyî (307), he is acknowledging the goodness of Kumalo’s intentions as a pastor. Jarvis’ generosity in rebuilding the church, cultivating the land, and improving the lifestyle of Kumalo’s village signifies his carrying on of his son’s legacy to help the struggling natives. The third book serves to resolve the tension between Kumalo and Jarvis, and, representatively, ease the tension between the natives and the whites of South Africa (253-312). The three books that structure Cry, the Beloved Country serve to tie together the lives of Kumalo and Jarvis, who are plagued by grief for their lost sons. The interrelation of the books also demonstrates the dependency that both men feel for one another. Kumalo’s goodness as a servant of God, his family, and his people gives Jarvis inspiration to continue his son’s legacy. Jarvis’ aid to Kumalo’s village restores the natives’ hope in the whites that run their country. The simplistic language used supports the subtlety of symbolism, creating a smoothly flowing style. The division of Cry, the Beloved Country into three books thus creates three stages representing grief, confrontation, and hope (33-312).