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.
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.
Significant Themes in The Beloved Country By Alan Paton
Cry, The Beloved Country is written with honesty and true gravity. Its many themes arise from exploitation, division, humility, compassion, understanding, and reconciliation. In an essay which draws on the action, the relationships between characters, and the historical context of the novel, show how the themes are realized in each of the areas above.
Alan Paton’s novel, Cry, The Beloved Country, tells the story of a South African minister whose son is sentenced to death for killing a white man. Throughout the novel, themes of exploitation, division, humility, compassion, understanding, and reconciliation are present and supported by examples.
Exploitation arises from economic and racial inequality in a society. This is evident in the novel in several cases. However, one specific example of exploitation is the way that the whites have forced the blacks to work in the mines and leave their families. The whites have used their power to completely exploit the black race. This topic is discussed in the manuscript of Arthur Jarvis.
It was permissible when we discovered gold to bring labour to the mines. It was permissible to build compounds and to keep women and children away from the towns.. It was permissible as an experiment, in the light of what we knew. But in the light of what we know now, with certain exceptions, it is no longer permissible. It is not permissible for us to go on destroying fam- ily life when we know that we are destroying it. Arthur Jarvis acknowledges that what the whites are doing to the blacks is exploitation and it is not acceptable. The white race is aware of the damage that they are inflicting upon blacks, yet they continue because for the sake of keeping their power and wealth. This exploitation exists due to the inequality in South Africa between the whites and the blacks. The social and economic differences between the two groups of people puts the whites in the position to do these horrible things to the blacks, as they have power over the black race in the South African society.
In his manuscript, Arthur Jarvis explains that the treatment of the blacks is exploitation due to the fact that the whites know what they are doing and the negative effects they are causing. He says that in the beginning, when they didn’t know what they were doing, it was not terrible. However, it is the fact that they are aware and still continue that makes their actions so corrupt.
Such development has only one true name, and that is exploitation. It might have been permissible in the early days of our country, before we became aware of its cost, in the disintegration of native commu- nity life, in the deterioration of native family life, in poverty, slums and crime. But now that the cost is known, it is no longer permissible.
The historical context of the novel in terms of the racial exploitation of the blacks by the whites displays the theme of exploitation and how it arises from economic and racial inequality in society. Division arises from the racist ideals of a segregated society blinded by their ignorance. The division in the society is a big reason why the blacks are being exploited in South Africa. This division of blacks and whites is due to the newly established apartheid. This theme can be seen in the boycott of the buses by the blacks. As they are traveling to Alexandra to find Stephen Kumalo’s son Absalom, Stephen Kumalo and Msimangu are about to get onto a bus. However, Dubula stops them at the door and tells them about the boycott that is taking place. He tells them that the prices were raised and that the blacks were all refusing to ride the bus in protest. He persuades Kumalo and Msimangu to walk to Alexandra instead.
…a man came up to them and said to Msimangu, are you going to Alexandra, umfundisi? — Yes, my friend. — We are here to stop you, umfundisi. Not by force, you see — he pointed — the police are there to prevent that. But by per- suasion. If you use this bus you are weakening the cuase of the black people. We have determined not to use these buses until the fare is brought back again to fourpence. This boycott serves as an example of the racial division in the South African society. The division is shown by the actions of the whites as they raised the bus fare. The blacks then responded with a boycott, further demonstrating the theme of division in the novel as the two races are conflicting.
Another example of division in the novel is the division of the Kumalo family. There are four members of the Kumalo family that are included in the story; Stephen, Absalom, Gertrude, and John. Reverend Stephen Kumalo is the main character, Absalom Kumalo is his son, John Kumalo is his brother, and Gertrude Kumalo is his sister. Although these four characters are a family, they are never all together in the novel, showing that the family is divided. In addition, Stephen Kumalo is the only member family that still lives in the village of Ndotsheni while the other three left for Johannesburg. It is clear in the novel that Stephen Kumalo has lost contact with all three of these family members and that is why he is trying to find all of them in Johannesburg. He is ashamed to find out that his sister is a prostitute, his brother is a politician, and his son has killed a white man. His lack of knowledge about the lives of his family members shows that the family is truly divided. — I have a brother also, here in Johannesburg. He too does not write any more. John Kumalo, a carpenter. — Msimangu smiled. I know him, he said. He is too busy to write. He is one of our great politicians. — A politician? My brother? — Yes, he is a great man in politics. Msimangu paused. I hope I shall not hurt you further. Your brother has no use for the Church any more. He says that what God has not done for South Africa, man must do. That is what he says.
Stephen Kumalo is completely unaware of what his brother has been doing in Johannesburg and is shocked to discover that he is now a politician. This lack of communication is proof of the division in the Kumalo family. This same thing is true for the rest of the family members as well. The Kumalo family and the bus boycott both show the theme of division in the novel. Humility arises from an awareness of one’s personal faults and the ability to address these. This theme is present throughout the novel in the character of Reverend Msimangu. He is very humble throughout the entire novel and it is shown by his words and actions. One example of his humility comes from a conversation he had with Stephen Kumalo soon after Kumalo came to Johannesburg. Kumalo said humbly, maybe you will pray for me. — I shall do it gladly. My brother, I have of course my work to do, but so long as you are here, my hands are yours. — You are kind. Something in the humble voice must have touched Msimangu, for he said, I am not kind. I am a selfish and sinful man, but God put his hands on me, that is all.
Msimangu has an awareness for his faults as he describes himself as unkind, selfish, and sinful. This awareness means that Msimangu is humble. His humility is also evident at the end of the novel. Msimangu announces that he is going away to become a monk and therefore is giving away all of his possessions. This action shows great humility from him as it is very difficult to give up all possessions and dedicate your life to prayer. In addition to this, Msimangu decides to give his money to Stephen Kumalo to help him with his unfortune, showing great kindness and selfnessness. Msimangu said, I am forsaking the world and all possessions, but I have saved a little money. I have no father or mother to depend on me, and I have the permission of the Church to give this to you, my friend, to help you with all the money you have spent in Johannesburg, and all the new duties you have taken up. This book is in your name.
Msimangu’s humility, shown by his words and actions, is an example of the theme of humility in the novel. His kind actions can also be used as an example of the next theme, compassion. Compassion stems from a desire to ease the suffering in other’s lives. In the novel, James Jarvis serves as a good example of this theme. After the death of his son, Arthur Jarvis, James Jarvis reads his son’s manuscripts and views the world differently as a result. He then makes an effort to better society. He takes action to improve the soil in the village of Ndotsheni by hiring a teacher. These actions show that he is thoughtful of the people in the village and the hardships that they face every day. His compassion is what drove him to spend his money to help other people. Who sent you to me? — Why, the white man who brought me. — uJarvis, was that the name? — I do not know the name, umfundisi, but it is the white man who has just gone. — Yes, that is uJarvis. Now tell me all. — I am come here to teach farming, umfundisi.
Another example of the compassion possessed by James Jarvis is his decision to build a church in the village of Ndotsheni, fulfilling his wife’s wish. His wife, Margaret Jarvis, always wanted to build a new church in Ndotsheni to benefit the community there. Upon her death, James Jarvis takes initiative and decides to construct a church in the village in memory of his son. This choice shows immense amounts of compassion from James Jarvis, both to the community of Ndotsheni and to his wife, Margaret. He decides to put his own money and effort into getting a new church so that the community can thrive and so that his wife’s wish can be fulfilled. This is a selfless act that truly shows his compassion. Umfundisi: I thank you for your message of sympathy, and for the prom- ise of the prayers of your church. You are right, my wife knew of the things that are being done, and had the greatest part in it. These things we did in memory of our beloved son. It was one of her last wishes that a new church should be built at Ndotsheni, and I shall come to discuss it with you. Yours truly, James Jarvis This letter from James Jarvis to Reverend Stephen Kumalo shows a great amount of compassion from James Jarvis as he takes it upon himself to construct a new church. This as well as his efforts to improve the soil in Ndotsheni are proof of James Jarvis’ compassion, and a prime example of the theme in the novel.
Understanding arises from a clear-eyed view of another culture’s situation. This theme is exemplified in the novel by the character relationship between James Jarvis and Stephen Kumalo. Although Stephen Kumalo’s son shot and killed James Jarvis’ son, they maintain a good, friendly relationship between each other as they are both very understanding of the other’s situation. Stephen Kumalo understands that James Jarvis is grieving over the loss of his son and has the right to be angry towards Kumalo. James Jarvis, on the other hand, understands that Stephen Kumalo is also grieving over the actions of his own son and the death sentence that he received. He understands that Kumalo feels awful about what happened and that he doesn’t need to be mad at him. Kumalo visits James Jarvis at his house and tells Jarvis that his son Absalom was the one who killed Arthur Jarvis. Even upon hearing this news, James Jarvis is not angry with Stephen Kumalo, showing his understanding. — It was my son that killed your son, said the old man. So they were silent. Jarvis left him and walked out into the trees of the garden. He stood at the wall and looked out over the veld, out to the great white dumps of the mines, like hills under the sun. When he turned to come back, he saw that the old man had risen, his hat in one hand, his stick in the other, his head bowed, his eyes on the ground. He went back to him. — I have heard you, he said. I understand what I did not understand. There is no anger in me.
The fact that James Jarvis was able to not become angry upon hearing this news from Stephen Kumalo shows a very high level of understanding and maturity. The same is true the other way in that Kumalo understands James Jarvis and they are able to have a good relationship despite the fact that Kumalo’s son killed Jarvis’ son. Another example of the high level of understanding in the relationship between James Jarvis and Stephen Kumalo is a conversation in which Kumalo thanks Jarvis. Kumalo thanks him for donating milk, helping to improve the village’s soil, and building a new church. The conversation shows that both men are completely understanding and able to prevent the past events from affecting their relationship. — Do not go before I have thanked you. For the young man, and the milk. And now for the church. — I have seen a man, said Jarvis with a kind of grim gaiety, who was in darkness till you found him. If that is what you do, I give it willingly.
Both Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis are examples of the theme of understanding in the novel. Understanding is similar to the final theme examined in the novel, which is reconciliation. Reconciliation takes place through a thorough understanding of another’s point of view. This is an important theme in the novel and can be seen in Arthur Jarvis’ understanding of the South African society and the exploitation of the black race. Although he is a white man, he is able to understand the point of view of the blacks and see things from their perspective. In his manuscript, he explained that whites make excuses to suppress the blacks and that it is wrong that they are exploiting people. It was permissible to allow the destruction of a tribal system that impeded the growth of the country. It was permissible to believe that its destruction was inevitable. But it is not permissi- be to watch its destruction, and to replace it by nothing, or by so little, that a whole people deteriorates, physically and morally.
Arthur Jarvis’ ability to view society from the point of view of a black man is a prime example of the novel’s theme of reconciliation. It is evident from his writing that he has a complete understanding of the situation and he understands what it would be like to be a black being suppressed by the whites. The novel, Cry, The Beloved Country, by Alan Paton contains themes of exploitation, division, humility, compassion, understanding, and reconciliation. Each of the individual themes are represented in the novel by plot, character relationships, or historical context and can be displayed through several examples.
Format And Symbolism in The Beloved Country Novel
Cry, the Beloved Country Literary Analysis
One of South Africa’s most prominent novels is Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. Paton’s writing style, while not primarily complicated and hard to follow, has an essence to it that makes his writing eloquent. The format in which Paton uses literary devices, symbolism, and different characterization helps reveal the main theme of the novel, that through Christian charity and with optimism of the future, whites and blacks can set aside their differences and unite as one country.
To begin with, literary devices play a major role in conveying Paton’s message that South Africa cannot become a unified nation without the influence of Christian charity. These include allusions, irony, anecdotes, and repetition. In the novel, there are two main allusions to the Bible. The first is when Kumalo first arrives in Johannesburg. After a native robs Kumalo of his bus money, another man juxtaposes the first by helping Kumalo travel to Sophiatown. This alludes to the Good Samaritan story in the Bible. The random kindness shown from this “decent man” reveals to the reader that there is more than just evil in Johannesburg, and it stands as an image of all the South Africans that are acting as Good Samaritans. Also, Kumalo’s son, Absalom, is an allusion to King David’s son, Absalom, in the Bible. Stating the fate of Absalom, this Bible story parallels the novel, because of the fact that both Absalom’s were hanged. King David begs the people not to kill his son, the same way Arthur Jarvis would have done if he had not been killed, and both men defy their fathers. The intricacy of this allusion shows how important Paton’s belief that Christianity places an important role in the book. Examples of irony, which revolves around Absalom and the idea of charity, include the fact that Kumalo is a priest. Even though Kumalo raised Absalom solely on Christian beliefs, his son eventually chose a diverging path that differed greatly from his father’s view. Kumalo feels confused and distressed by his son’s actions, asking himself “Where had they failed? What had they done, or left undone, that their son had become a thief?” (Page 119). This separation, from both religion and his father, supports how important Christian charity is, especially for the fate of Absalom. It is ironic as well that Arthur Jarvis would want mercy for Absalom, even though he is murdered by the native. The extremity of this situation further reveals Paton’s thoughts on the charity between whites and blacks; even though Arthur is both the race that oppresses natives and is killed as a result of native crime, he demonstrates the Christian generosity completely. The accumulation of Christian charity that is shown in Johannesburg to Kumalo and others shows Paton’s optimism of how the unification of South Africa could occur sooner rather than later.
Within the novel, there is an anecdote which parallels the Good Samaritan allusion, where a white woman is hurt by a white man and finds help and comfort from a native family. The irony of this situation helps support the notion that despite the wall dividing the races, there are people who are willing to break this wall down, using the kindness of goodwill. When Reverend Theophilus Msimangu tells Kumalo that he is “a selfish and sinful man” he often repeats the quote “God put his hands on me” (Page 22). Extremely humble whenever it comes to his good deeds, Msimangu repeatedly states this quote, conveying how the most generous people, are also the most modest.
Secondly, Paton uses moving metaphors and symbolism to highlight the importance of philanthropy in South Africa. A repeating idea that is symbolized within the novel, is hope. The white man from the reformatory represents hope for Absalom’s future. In the end, Absalom is not granted mercy and is hanged. Despite this, the work the reformatory man does, both to help improve Absalom and other troubled natives, makes a lasting impact in native culture. Also his work provides hope for the future of the country. Before Absalom dies, he talks to his father one last time, telling him that “if the child is a son, [Absalom] should like his name to be Peter” (Page 187). Both the name Peter and Absalom’s son symbolize optimism about the posterity of Kumalo’s family and the village of Ndotsheni. In Greek, the name Peter means “rock,” and Absalom wants his son to be the “rock” of the village and his family. This wonderful connection that Paton has created in the story conveys an optimistic feeling about what will happen when Kumalo returns home. Despite Absalom’s sentence, Paton wants the reader to be enthusiastic that things are looking up, and that if they can in the story, then it is possible in real life as well. Another recurring symbol is the sun, which sun is often referred to in metaphors as realization and enlightenment. While in Ezenzeleni, Kumalo meditates while basking in the sun, and Paton describes this metaphor:
For some hours he sat there in the sun, and whether it was the warmth of it, or the sight of the wide plain beneath stretching away to blue and distant mountains… or the divine providence of the soul that is distressed, he could not say; but there was some rising of the spirit, some lifting of the fear. (Page 118)
The metaphors and symbols that Paton skillfully adds to the novel help reveal to the reader how having optimism and hope for the future, instead of dreading what could happen, will make it easier for blacks and whites to find solace and finally connect as a nation.
Finally, there are a multitude of characters– both black and white– that Paton inputs into the novel which reveal the importance of Christian generosity. Within Cry, the Beloved Country, there are three significant characters that symbolize Paton himself: Msimangu, the young white reformatory man, and Arthur Jarvis. Not only do these characters believe in the same ideals as Paton, but they all convey their opinions through selfless actions that help progress the unification of South Africa. Kumalo meets Theophilus Msimangu first, whose name in itself is an allusion to Christianity. In Greek, Theophilus translates to “God loving” or “Loved by God,” and he literally lives up to his name. As Kumalo’s guide throughout the story, Msimangu helps him grow as a person, while he himself grows as well. Despite Msimangu’s humble nature, there are many points in the book where he completes a grand action; when Kumalo and Msimangu are going separate ways, Msimangu tells his friend, “I am forsaking the world and all possessions… and I have had the permission of the Church to give this to you, my friend,” handing Kumalo all the money he owns (Page 248). This extremely charitable action by Msimangu shows the complete compassion and faith that people can have, and even though Msimangu gets no physical reward for his charity, he has no regrets, for he has “never had a pleasure like this one” (Page 248). Paton’s opinion that more people should act unselfish is evident within Msimangu, because the long lasting effect of charity always outweighs the materialistic prize for being kind.
Continuing on the path of representations of Paton, the young white man, that owns the Reformatory in which Absalom went to embodies Paton’s actions, because Paton also created a Reformatory of his own, called the Diepkloof Reformatory. Paton inputs this character to reveal his beliefs of the significance of redemption and improvement. They both devoted their lives to ameliorate young natives’ lives, from crime to prosperity, despite the division of the races. Repeating the phrase “It is our work,” the young white man conveys his passion towards helping the native cause (Page 60). This man symbolizes how not all whites are against the natives, and how there are more than just natives fighting for unity. Perhaps one of the most influential characters in the novel is Arthur Jarvis, despite him being deceased for a majority of the story. The first time you hear about Arthur, he is remembered as being a “small bright boy,” by Kumalo, signifying the pure goodness that Arthur possesses (Page 65). Everything about Arthur screams “Christian charity,” from how he devotes his entire life to helping the native cause to his thoughtfulness conveyed in his manuscript. If Arthur had a resume, it would be over five pages long, compiled with all of his accomplishments: eloquent speaker, extremely prominent in the community, advocate for native equality, head of the African Boys and Girls Club, and avid believer of social liberalism. Unlike some advocates in South Africa who just talk about the problems, Arthur went out and found a solution, always carrying out the action. His devotion towards helping the natives is evident in his manuscript that he wrote when he states “We believe in help for the underdog, but we want him to stay under” (Page 154). Here Paton indirectly inputs his opinion on how South Africans might say they care about the native cause, but in reality they are just hypocritical. In Paton’s opinion, if a majority of people act like Arthur Jarvis completely selfless and devoted then whites and blacks would have no difficulty whatsoever coming together as a nation.
In retrospect, Paton cleverly supports the recurring theme that Christian charity can help unify South Africa with many literary devices, descriptive symbolism, and different characterizations. Through all of these techniques, Paton both indirectly and directly reveals to the reader the only way Apartheid can end: Through the charitable actions of everyday people. It can only be hoped that Alan Paton has found solace in his death, knowing that his greatest opposition in life has been abolished.
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.
A Literary Review of Alan Paton’s Story, Cry the Beloved Country with Focus on the Journey to Freedom
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.
For thousands of years, people have believed devoutly in an omnipotent spirit who watched over them, cared for them, loved them, protected them. A homely priest sheltered from the world in the rural South African countryside comes face to face with the blatant reality that pervades the urban jungle when he journeys to Johannesburg in search of his son. Taken aback by the harsh truths of the ravaged and segregated city, he relies solely on his Christian faith to withstand the brutalities that the city hosts. In Alan Paton’s novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, in light of living as a black South African under Apartheid and grieving over how his son has gone astray, Stephen Kumalo’s Christian faith helps him to overcome his hardships by bringing him solace in his darkest hours.
When Stephen Kumalo discovers his son’s moral transgression and his apparent lack of conscience, he turns to Tixo (the Xosa word for “God”) for solace in his time of trouble. In the wake of learning of his son’s immorality, Kumalo sinks into the depths of despair; however, Msimangu’s preaching to the blind in Ezenzeleni restores Kumalo’s faith. The tone is one of hope; the Lord will “open the blind eyes” and “make darkness light before them” (Paton, 124). With the use of the contrasting words “darkness” and “light”, the passage conveys the idea that the Lord can drive away encroaching evil with truth. From the phrase “hold thine hand” and “not forsake them” we can see that in times of trouble the Lord will not abandon his people and instead will guide them through their hardships, which Kumalo sorely needs. The mood is inspiring, because even in “darkness” the Lord does not forsake people; he will “hold thine hand” and “lead them in paths”, showing us that the Lord will not leave anyone behind. Kumalo is “silent”, awed by the “voice of gold” from the man “whose heart was golden, reading from a book of golden words”. This emphasis on the word “gold” shows that Tixo is the sole source of pure truth and light for Kumalo in his “darkness”. There are many pauses, reflecting Kumalo’s introspection and musings. At one point during the preaching he ask many rhetorical questions with no clear answer, revealing his grasping for truth. At last he comes to the conclusion that life is full of mystery, and all that matters is that he is “not forsaken” by Tixo. The saints will “lift up the heart in the days of our distress” and for that he is “grateful”. Having reached this conclusion, he tells Msimangu that he is “recovered” from the crippling “darkness” and sees the “light” again.
Not only does Kumalo see that the Christian faith provides consolation, but he also learns from Msimangu that the only way that South Africa can overcome Apartheid is through the Christian value of brotherly love between white and black men. The tone of Msimangu’s revelation is grave, because he is aware that the Apartheid in South Africa results in an imbalance of power between white and black men, which leaves room for discontentment. This discrimination from the unfair division of power prompts black men to desire to “put right what is wrong” by taking “revenge” (Paton, 71) on the white men. The mood here is somewhat hopeful despite the somber atmosphere. Msimangu presents one solution to the “corruption” and “power” thirst of the countrymen: “love”. There is still “one hope for our country”; the Christian love between “white and black men”, when they desire “only the good of their country”, will prompt them to “come together to work” selflessly for their shared society. The resentment of the black men is discernable from the use of harsh negative words like “revenge” and “corruption”. However, Msimangu’s optimism is evident through words like “hope”, “love”, “good”, and “come together”, underscoring Christian values. The sentences are long, with pauses interspersed among them; this demonstrates thoughtfulness and depth, as well as the gravity of these notions. The weight of his words comes from the precarious plight of the South African society; Msimangu believes that only Christian “love” “between black and white men” is the only way that the segregation and racism will come to an end.
In the face of the unknown, Kumalo’s fears get the better of him as his own world fades away; however, in a world where fear runs rampant, Kumalo combats the encroaching trepidation with his unwavering Christian faith. The tone is one of apprehension bordering on sheer terror; as “the journey” into the “unknown” (Paton, 44) begins, Kumalo’s fears, which he had managed to hold at bay, infringe upon him and run amok. To fend off such dreadful thoughts, Kumalo seeks refuge in his “sacred book”. Even though he is consumed with fear because his “own world is slipping away”, he finds comfort in the Bible because “it was this world alone that [he] was certain”. The mood is set as suspenseful; for when “the journey had begun”, it was filled with possibilities of “the unknown”. The repetition of the simple word “fear” does much to capture Kumalo’s emotions. This emphasis on “fear” throws light upon how much influence Kumalo’s Christian faith has on him; despite his overwhelming worries, they are all assuaged when he is immersed in the only world “that was certain”. The words “fear”, “killed”, “sickness”, “dying”, and “destroyed” leave a negative impression on the reader; they convey an atmosphere of foreboding. The passage is composed of sentences both long and short; by variating the lengths of the sentences, the author effectively conveys Kumalo’s running trains of thought and the anxiety that accompanies each. By punctuating the long sentence with commas, the author takes Kumalo’s fears and lines them up together; this shows how Kumalo gets carried away with his worries, and one leads to another. This vicious cycle of fear is cut short when Kumalo decides to read his Bible and takes refuge in the “world” that was “certain” because in a world that is rapidly changing, only his faith remains solid and stable. Kumalo is so emboldened by his faith that he is willing to trade the world he has always known for the “unknown” world of the “great city”, so long as he can still find solace in Tixo.
Hence, the priest Stephen Kumalo is able to overcome his hardships through the solace he finds in his Christian faith. In the wake of discovering that his son became a murderer, Kumalo powers through the ordeal by maintaining faith in Tixo. From Msimangu, Kumalo learns that the Christian value of brotherly love can combat the injustices of Apartheid. When Kumalo leaves his comfort zone for a world of fears, he is able to fend off the apprehension by finding comfort in the Christian faith. Like countless before him, Kumalo has an unwavering belief in God; he knows that there will always be someone who will watch over him unfailingly.
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.