Depiction Of Problems in South Africa in Cry The Beloved Country Novel
In the second half of Cry, the Beloved Country, the novel presents many social and economic problems arising in South Africa, however; Paton reveals glimpses of hope for South Africa. Although these feelings of hope may appear scarce and brief, they provide great insight into the future of South Africa as a nation.
The initial glimpse of hope seen within the novel comes with the death of Arthur Jarvis. Although his assassination proves to highlight the misery and the social complications within South Africa, an extremely positive and hopeful message emerges through his death. As James Jarvis reads through his deceased son’s writings, Arthur asserts, “Therefore I shall devote myself, my time, my energy, my talents, to the service of South Africa,” which provides insight into Arthur’s character and his desires in helping the native Africans (Paton 208). Growing up in an influent white family, Arthur’s desire in pushing agenda in furthering the natives’ rights and status is incredibly odd, but this alludes to Arthur’s sense of justice and rights that should be held by all citizens, regardless of color. Also, Arthur represents one of the first white men in attempting to liberate the natives from their oppressed state under the Europeans. Arthur’s strive for justice only eludes that his legacy shall carry weight towards the liberating of the natives and provides the first spark of hope within South Africa.
Sparking from Arthur’s initial comment, he furthermore writes in attempting to find the logical answers for the wicked problems which plague South Africa. Taking the blame for his own culture’s destruction of the natives’ civilization, Arthur believes that, “Our civilization has therefore an inescapable duty to set up another system of order and tradition and convention,” furthermore representing how Europeans can provide hope for the country (Paton 179). By taking responsibility for the social, economic, and complete strife occurring in South Africa, the Europeans can provide the natives with a fresh new beginning, where instead of following the current system in place; the Europeans shall simply recreate an entirely new system for the natives. The entire self-destruction of South Africa falls on the shoulders of the folly Europeans, who without as much as caring only see these men and women as a source of slavery in bettering their economic stability. Arthur’s comment only provides a sense of glee as Europeans can take the initiative in changing South Africa, alluding that hope still remains, even within this hard-stricken nation.
Stemming off Arthur’s argument for bettering the nation through European action, a young white boy provides the perfect proof. Once Kumalo returns from Johannesburg and back to Ndotsteni, “One day the small white boy came galloping up…,” and told Kumalo, “– I’ve come to talk Zulu again..,” perfectly providing the evidence towards a more hopeful nation (Paton 282). Kumalo and this young white boy hold a few conversations, in which the young boy speaks and learns Zulu from Kumalo. Not only does this display a cultural mixing, but furthermore shows the engagement between a native and a white. These two people simply behave civically and enjoy another’s company, without even mentioning or displaying signs of racism or hatred. In fact, they actually bond and develop a friendship over these meetings, both learning and growing from another. Also, the boy’s age helps reveal how in the younger generations there may be a readiness in finally creating equality and justice for the natives within South Africa. This encounter only provides evidence towards hope for the country, as both races can meet together and share what is most important, love in humanity with each other.
Finally, all of these flashes of hope are shown in the actions of James Jarvis towards the end of the novel. As Kumalo and a Bishop discuss the future of the town, “… Kumalo told him about the milk, and the new dam that was to be built, and the young demonstrator,” which are all gifts from Jarvis (Paton 296). A white European (Jarvin) provides the town with all these gifts and buildings, allowing the town as a while to rebuild and actually look towards growth. Through reading his son’s scripts, Jarvis not only accepts his son’s messages, but then carries out what his son strived for. By helping the local town of natives, Jarvis provides innocent people with the blessings of education, farming, water, and life. “This is an extraordinary thing,” comments the Bishop, who similarly to the read, must be dumfounded and shocked through the acts ok human kindness the village receives (Paton 296). Through these blessings and improvements, the hope of South Africa shines brilliantly, as Jarvis helps Kumalo and helps the future citizens of South Africa.
All of these examples of hope only elude towards a better South Africa. The beauty behind these examples is that each builds on another, almost like a cycle. For when the process starts, it surely cannot be stopped. South Africa will reap the benefits of a population which desires equality and justice, but most importantly love for another and a hope for an even brighter future.
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