Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton


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The novel “Cry the Beloved Country” is based on the true-life story of South African apartheid, and the native’s struggle for equality. During the book, Stephen Kumalo goes on a journey to find his sister, and his son, for they have left the tribal land of KwaZulu-Natal a long time ago, and neither Kumalo nor his wife have heard of the whereabouts of either family members. As he goes on his journey, the things that he sees, and experiences tell the much greater story of Apartheid in South Africa.



     When Kumalo arrives in the city, he is in the midst of the poverty and confusion that is the great city of Johannesburg where people from all the native tribes go to find jobs, money, and housing among other things. He sees everything that is going on around him, all the oppression that his people have to go through, and the way they are treated. When he went and found his sister, she was living in horrible conditions, and this really was the way that most black people lived. They had their own part of the city, with their own schools, and their own busses, because the apartheid issue was so strong. By going along with Kumalo we, the reader, see how harsh everyday life is for the natives of South Africa. While Kumalo was on his journey, he passed through the shantytowns where only black South Africans lived, and the busses that they were striking against. We see how difficult it is to go through everyday life as a black person, and how hard it is to get from place to place if you do not know all the right people. This is the way that true South African life was for most people who lived there. It was not a good situation for anyone to be in. There was much disease being spread throughout, and in the awfully crowded living conditions it was hard to escape it.



     Another example of the apartheid that was shown through Kumalo’s journey was the example of the bus strike. None of the natives agreed to take the bus for as long as they would have to pay outrageous rates.

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The main parallel between the book, and real life is that the book could very well have been a true story. The whole book was a parallel to the way life was, and it even gave the example of showing how the whites lived, and how the blacks lived in very separate, and unequal living conditions. It showed the separate living conditions, the whites being wealthy, and controlling the society, and the blacks, almost being slaves to them.



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