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Cry, The Beloved Country, by Alan Paton Essay

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In Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton uses Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis as examples of humanity’s tendency to be complacent about critical issues until a momentous event occurs which forces them to confront the issues. This message is very clear in Cry, the Beloved Country as it is in our society. People tend to ignore serious issues rather than confront and solve them. Historical examples like the Holocaust greatly illustrate this point. Stephen Kumalo is complacent in his village of Ndotesheni and only realizes the extent of the destruction of the tribal structure after he returns from Johannesburg. James Jarvis is also complacent about the condition of the native people; he chooses to ignore the native question rather than discuss it. By characterizing Jarvis and Kumalo in this way, Paton makes a very important statement: human beings must not wait for a tragic event to occur to confront a critical issue.
Jarvis and Kumalo are both very complacent about the native question before going to Johannesburg. In the beginning of the novel, Kumalo does not want to fully acknowledge the extent of the destruction of the tribal system. Kumalo’s brother, sister and son all went to Johannesburg and have not written Kumalo in a very long time. However, Kumalo desperately holds on to the flawed notion that they are still good people. Kumalo still believes that John is a humble carpenter, Gertrude is a good mother and wife and Absalom is an innocent young boy. Kumalo still holds the idealistic view that Absalom will one day return to Ndotsheni and pursue an education at St. Chad’s. Kumalo is even reluctant to use the money he and his wife saved for Absalom’s education, and castigates his wife when she tells him to spend it. ...


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...of how ignoring a problem will prevent any chances of it being resolved in the near future. Paton is urging us to fix problems as soon as they happen, so problems do not worsen like they did in South Africa. Paton is warning us to not wait for something tragic to call us to action. There are many problems in our society that could be fixed right away if people would attempt to solve them. However, many people choose to ignore the problem. Race, inequality and moral issues in our society could all be fixed or at least improved if people would do something. Many people choose not acknowledge these problems because they are difficult to fix. People blame the problems on others, as Jarvis did, or choose to hope the problem will solve itself, like Kumalo did. However this novel and history prove that this approach to problem solving will fail time and time again.



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Cry, The Beloved Country, by Alan Paton Essay - In Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton uses Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis as examples of humanity’s tendency to be complacent about critical issues until a momentous event occurs which forces them to confront the issues. This message is very clear in Cry, the Beloved Country as it is in our society. People tend to ignore serious issues rather than confront and solve them. Historical examples like the Holocaust greatly illustrate this point. Stephen Kumalo is complacent in his village of Ndotesheni and only realizes the extent of the destruction of the tribal structure after he returns from Johannesburg....   [tags: Cry, The Beloved Country Essays] 1423 words
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