Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton


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Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

As an advocate for the natives, the death of Arthur Jarvis is a blow to the South African community. Although dead, Arthur Jarvis has a significant influence in the book Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton.

Arthur Jarvis is a white man who believes in equality between the white men and the native men. Before dying Arthur Jarvis was a president for the Africans Boys Club and involved in many other such organizations. (He wholeheartedly believed that all men were created equal, a belief reinforced bye the wall of books on Abraham Lincoln. Jarvis’ passion to read all about Abraham Lincoln, who firmly believed that all men were created equal, reinforces.) Jarvis is placed in the story to symbolize the fight for equality that occurs in South Africa.

With the rise of native crime in South Africa, Arthur Jarvis begins to write a book. In the book Jarvis states that the reason for native crime stems from the fact that the white man oppresses the black. The white man leaves the black uneducated, yet expects him to be civilized. When the natives commit crimes, it shocks the white man, yet the white man does nothing to better the situation. This, states Jarvis, is unacceptable. For as long as the white man does this, there will be native crime in South Africa.
Yet the most significant thing that results from Arthur’s death is the effect it has on his father James Jarvis. James Jarvis is a white farmer who lives near Ndotsheni and notices the poverty, yet does nothing. Nothing, that is, until his son dies. The death of Arthur cases James to rethink some of his beliefs, and in the end results in his helping out the natives of Ndotsheni. For example, when one of the children I the valley falls sick and needs milk to survive, Jarvis sends milk for the child.

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Jarvis also hires a young man to help restore the land and offers to build a new church for Stephen Kumalo, the priest in Ndotsheni. This benevolence is a direct result of Arthur Jarvis’ death.

In summary these reasons prove that Arthur Jarvis is a significant figure in the novel. This goes to show that just because someone dies, it doesn’t mean their influences die with them.


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