“Cry for the broken tribe, for the law and the custom is gone. Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end (Paton, 105).” In Cry, the Beloved Country, it is 1946 and the land reserved for blacks in Ndotsheni, a part of South Africa, is drying up. In the novel written by Alan Paton, young men and women begin to leave Ndotsheni for the new city Johannesburg. One of those gone is John Kumalo, a businessman in Johannesburg and younger brother of Stephen Kumalo, a reverend in Ndotsheni. Stephen and John Kumalo differ in their regards for family, religion, and corruption.
Stephen has a brother, sister, and son that left him years ago, none of which writes to him. Yet, he still misses them and hopes for their return. One day, he receives a letter with news about his sister, Gertrude. After discussing the news with his wife, he leaves for Johannesburg at once to find his long gone sister. Stephen and his wife sacrifice their savings for Stephen to make the anxious trip. While in Johannesburg, he finds Gertrude, John, and eventually his only son, Absalom. With no bitterness, he resolves to bring them all back with him but in the end, none comes with him. However, he gained a nephew, the son of Gertrude, a daughter-in-law, Absalom’s newly wedded wife, and an unborn grandchild.
On the other hand, John is the opposite of his brother Stephen. John is no longer living with Stephen’s family due to his decision long ago. In addition, John’s wife left him because he was unfaithful to her. He is now living with a woman who is not married to him. The book shows that family comes second to John because he does not keep in touch with his son, Matthew, anymore. When Stephen comes for ...
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...ndemns the laws that favor white men. Yet, he speaks English instead of Zulu. John is a great speaker that can influence others and can lead riots if he chooses. Nevertheless, every time he riles up the crowd, he backs down for fear of losing his comfortable status. Though he speaks of bad treatment for blacks, he lives contentedly in his home while earning a good pay. He talks and tells speeches of reforms and yet does nothing. As a result, he is just as corrupted as the white man is.
In summary, Stephen and John represent the two clashing cultures of South Africa. Stephen represents the old ways and tries to keep traditional values. John wants the new world and thinks nothing of the old ways. Never could there be two different brothers as Stephen and John. Their regards for family, religion, and corruption clash as a result of the newly rising culture.
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