Essay PreviewMore ↓
The setting begins in a small village in South Africa where Reverend Stephen Kumalo receives a letter asking him to go to Johannesburg to help his ill sister. Kumalo gets together all their savings and takes a train hoping to find not only his sister but also his son who left and never returned. In the city he finds the pastor who sent this letter who welcomes him and helps him find his sister. To his surprise, his sister was not ill but instead she had become a prostitute and was selling liquor. After persuading her to come back to the village with her son, she helps him find their brother, John.
John has become a successful businessman and politician, and he directs them to the factory where his son and Absalom once worked together. After tracking him down from place to place, Kumalo finally discovers that his son has spent time in a reformatory and that he has gotten a girl pregnant. Absalom is later arrested for the murder of Arthur Jarvis, a important white crusader for racial justice.
Despite Kumalo’s attempt to help his son, Absalom is sentenced to death. He claims it was unintentional and had help from John Kumalo’s son. Reverend Kumalo then arranges for his son to marry the girl he had gotten pregnant and for her to come back with him. In addition, he meets with Arthur Jarvis’s father, and together they grieve for the death of their sons.
Eventually Kumalo goes home with his new daughter-in-law, and Jarvis gets involved helping him keep his village together; he helps with agricultural techniques and offers to build the congregation a new church. The novel ends as Kumalo weeps over his son’s death on the valley, awaiting his execution.
How to Cite this Page
"Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton." 123HelpMe.com. 15 Aug 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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 (4.1 pages)
- “Africa” is not even an African word. There is no certainty as to where it originated from but it could be connected with the Latin word aprica, meaning “sunny,” or the Greek word aphrike, meaning “not cold.” It seems more likely that it came from the Greek word; “aphrike” is the combination of “phrike” (cold and horror) with an “a” placed in front to give it the opposite meaning. Therefore, it means a land free of cold and horror. It’s such an ironic name for a country where people are living their lives with hunger and fear.... [tags: Cry, The Beloved Country Essays]
793 words (2.3 pages)
- “For it is the dawn that has come, as it has come for a thousand centuries, never failing. But when that dawn will come, of our emancipation, from the fear of bondage and the bondage of fear, why, that is a secret.” Alan Paton’s novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, can be understood as either a political novel or an artistic novel. Although this book involves political issues, the manor in which these concerns are conveyed throughout the story is quite artistic (as the above quote exemplifies), thus why I believe Paton’s novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, is an artistic novel.... [tags: Cry, The Beloved Country Essays]
1028 words (2.9 pages)
- The country and the city life depicted in Alan Paton's novel Cry, The Beloved Country portray two different aspects of life in South Africa in the later half of the 1940's. The country life in the book is Ndotsheni and the city life is Johannesburg. Neither country life or city life would be considered perfect. Both living areas enjoyed positive aspects and negative drawbacks. The country was looked at as the backward part of South Africa, and the city was looked at as the advanced part of South Africa.... [tags: Cry, The Beloved Country Essays]
598 words (1.7 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Cry, The Beloved Country Essays]
388 words (1.1 pages)
- Chapter One: The first chapter of Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country begins with a description of a road that runs from the village Ixopo into the hill and then leads to Carisbrooke and to the valleys of Africa. The grass is rich and matted, a holy ground that must be kept and guarded for it keeps and guards men. Analysis: Alan Paton begins Cry, the Beloved Country with a description of the land surrounding Ixopo, the village where the pastor (and protagonist) Stephen Kumalo lives. Paton establishes this as a rural and isolated area, which is significant to develop the character of Kumalo and his relationship to the larger urban area of Johannesburg where he will soon find himself.... [tags: Cry, The Beloved Country Essays]
1707 words (4.9 pages)
- Cry the Beloved Country Seeing on Another Level From the day of birth and throughout adulthood, we as humans go through many changes. Kohlberg identifies these changes as stages of moral development that all humans go through. Each person's moral reasoning develops through Kohlberg's mapped out stages. In the novel Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton discuses the life of several defined characters who undergo significant moral changes, all of which are for the better. A man named James Jarvis is a wealthy land owner and a crucial character in Paton's novel.... [tags: Cry, The Beloved Country Essays]
1034 words (3 pages)
- Cry the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton is a novel inspired by the industrial revolution. Paton describes in detail the conditions in which the Africans were living during this time period, 1946. This story tells about a Zulu pastor who goes into the city in search of his son and siblings who left in search of a better life. The pastor sees this immense city where a ruling white group is oppressing the black population. This novel is more than just a story, but it depicts the effects imperialism and the Industrial Revolution had on South Africa.... [tags: Cry, The Beloved Country Essays]
1137 words (3.2 pages)
- Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton, is the timeless novel about South Africa in the 1940’s. As powerful white men use the land for their own benefit, the tribal system of the African natives is broken down and replaced by poverty, homelessness, fear, and violence. A black priest, Stephen Kumalo, ventures to the great city of Johannesburg in search of his lost sister and son. His journey demonstrates the unhealthy lifestyle and mutinous atmosphere of the black people; yet he is the beholder of forgiveness, love, hope, and the restoration of a country overwhelmed with problems.... [tags: Cry, The Beloved Country Essays]
964 words (2.8 pages)
- Social Protest Cry the Beloved Country was a book written to bring about change. Through out the book Alan Paton reveal the social injustices of South Africa. This whole book, although a fictional stories, is to protest of the ways of South Africa. Paton brings up the inequity of the natives’ verses the whites; he makes points about education, superiority, and separation. Paton clearly showed that the white man is superiority to the black, he gives numerous examples throughout the novel. The white man had more money, a better job, a nicer house… With James Jarvis, Paton showed that he was superior by making him live on high place, because he was so much superior than the natives that lived... [tags: Cry, The Beloved Country Essays]
1332 words (3.8 pages)
This novel takes place shortly after the Second World War, and is suffering from the effects of the age of imperialism and the industrial revolution. One of the effects the industrial revolution had was the growth of the cities; everyone moved into the cities in search of job opportunities.
“All roads lead to Johannesburg. If you are white or if you are black they lead to Johannesburg. If the crops fail, there is work in Johannesburg. If there are taxes to be paid, there is work in Johannesburg…” (83).
Here we can see how all the population was leaving their tribes and villages to go to this big city because they had no other choice; it was their only option to get a job. During this time the population in the cities was doubling every thirty years, and therefore, there was not enough housing.
“They way we must get together the planks and the sacks and the tins and the poles, and all move together. They say we must all pay a shilling a week to the Committee, and they will move all our rubbish and put up lavatories for us, so that there is no sickness. But what of the rain and the winter?” (86).
Here we see the conditions the people were living in; they began to build houses with planks and sacks because they had nowhere else to go.
Just like in England, the capitalists were taking everything over and using the people’s desperation to their advantage; they worked the people long hours with very low salaries. At one point the people boycott against high fares for the buses; if the capitalists raised the fare many workers would not be able to afford it any longer. “We are determined not to use the buses until the fare is brought back again to four pence,” (73). This meant that many people had to walk eleven miles to work, “And women, and some that are sick, and some crippled and children. They start walking at four in the morning, and they do not get back till eight at night,” (74). Here we can see the extreme conditions these people were willing to work in, and they only received thirty-five to forty shillings a week.
During this time, Imperialism was taking place, and England had taken over South Africa. Kumalo first noticed this when he came into the city, “As all country trains in South Africa are, it was full of black travelers. On this train indeed there were not many others, for the Europeans of this district all have their cars…” (43). John Kumalo was a business man in Johannesburg and he explains this to the reverend,
“This wonderful hospital for Europeans, the biggest hospital south of the Equator, built with the gold from the mines… Go to our hospital, he said, and see our people lying on the floors. They lie so close you cannot step over them. But it is they who dig the gold.” (67).
Here we see the inequality of classes; the Europeans took over South Africa and are taking all the benefits the people work so hard for. The English control all the economic and political decisions, therefore, they receive all the benefits and all the best services while they ignore the needs of the working class.
I have found that even in this day and age, we still suffer from some of the same effects the industrial revolution had in the early twentieth century. We are currently living in a capitalist country with unequal pay and benefits. Although the government has intervened with the capitalists, by making a minimum wage a setting a limited amount of hours, workers are still not being treated equally. We often see actors or athletes being paid unreasonably high salaries for mere entertainment, in contrast to nurses or garbage collectors who work to better our society for very low wages.
Paton does an excellent job depicting the image of what life was like in those times. Through Reverend Kumalo’s journey to Johannesburg, the readers are able to understand some of the consequences of the industrial revolution and the age of imperialism. This is captivating novel because the problems Paton discuses do not only make the reader aware of the situation during the moment, but he is able to relate to current problems of this age and time.