Analysis Of Alan Paton's Cry The Beloved Country

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During the 1950’s, oppression of black South Africans was a prominent issue ongoing in South Africa. Alan Paton, writer of Cry, The Beloved Country, illustrates the loss of humanity because of apartheid throughout the novel. This novel is written in a time where white leaders run a black man’s country, which causes friction between the two races, causing them to drift apart into two separate societies. The segregation of races is highlighted through Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis, as seen through their living situation. While Kumalo lives in a small space in an impoverished village, James Jarvis is quite wealthy who lives on the most expensive property of his area. However, despite their differences forced upon them by their societies, they…show more content…
When James Jarvis reaches his son’s study and reads his letters about social justice and oppression, he is confused as to know whom his son really was. James was a man who cared only about his farm and family, so when he sees his son as an advocate for the black South-Africans, he “wanted to understand his son, not to desire what was no more accessible to desire”(187). After his son’s death, Jarvis only desired to understand his son, someone who had become a stranger through his eyes. The sad truth behind this truly highlights the sacrifice a father has to make to let his son move to a city where he can be more successful. Stephen Kumalo goes through this same pain and suffering when all of his family moves to Johannesburg and leave him stranded. “My own son, my own sister, my own brother. They go away and they do not write to me at all. Perhaps it does not seem to them that we suffer”(39). As Kumalo discusses the separation between him and his family, it is made clear that he has lost touch with all of them, much like Jarvis losing connection with his son. Furthermore, both men seem to be deeply hurt by the situation, and wish that they could do something about the inevitable position the find themselves…show more content…
While Arthur Jarvis came from a family ignorant of the constant injustices in South Africa, he proves to lead a much different life. He is a “courageous young man, and a great fighter for justice” (Paton 39). He is a social justice activist who speaks for the oppressed and writes about the country’s injustices. In fact, in one of his writings, he writes, “We saw we withhold education because the black child has not the intelligence to profit by it…is it strange then that our civilization is riddled through and through with dilemma?”(187-188). Arthur knows that the lack of education and low social status thrust upon the black population is what polarizes the whites and blacks of South Africa’s population. Through this polarization, South Africa’s population becomes afraid of one another, and Arthur knows that he must do something about it. Funnily enough, he falls victim to the very injustices he shines a spotlight to and advocates for. Another victim of the South African society is Absalom Kumalo. When asked why he kills Arthur Jarvis, he doesn’t answer that it is because of his race, or because of what he has done, he constantly repeats “I was frightened, so I fired the revolver”(194). This brings light to the separation of the two societies, and how the polarization of two races
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