Cry the Beloved Country

1753 Words8 Pages
Alan Paton uses vivid description of scenery to introduce the reader to the setting of Cry, the Beloved Country which takes place in the 1940’s during the era of apartheid. He describes South Africa by saying “The grass is rich and matted…” (34). He says it is “…well-tended, and not too many cattle…” (34). Stephen Kumalo is a priest that lives in Ndotsheni which is a small native town in South Africa. Stephen is very old fashioned, caring and his qualities show the best when interacting with others and shows his courage throughout the novel. He faces many hardships throughout his journey to Johannesburg such as finding his sister is a prostitute and sells alcohol and his brother John is an opinionated politician. His son Absalom later on shoots Jarvis’s son Arthur; as a result Absalom is hanged as a penalty. Jarvis is a white landowner in South Africa who is blind to the racism going on, and the only way to empathize with the racism is through his son. With Arthur getting killed by Absalom, Jarvis faces great difficulty in his life and shows he is the most complex throughout the story. Jarvis giving back to the people of Ndotsheni shows empathy of his son dying and learns that tragedy is a part of life, but can be overcome by focusing on what is good in life. The journey taken by Kumalo to Johannesburg was a good decision because he learns that just because he was a priest, he is human and cannot be perfect. Stephen receives a letter from a priest named Msimangu that states “…Her name is Gertrude Kumalo, and I understand she is the sister of the Rev. Stephen Kumalo, St. Mark’s Church, Ndotsheni. This young woman is very sick, and therefore I ask you to come quickly to Johannesburg” (37). While preparing for his journey, Stephen thinks he is being hurt by his siblings by saying “…They go away and they do not write any more. Perhaps it does not seem to them that we
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