Plot summary[ edit ] In the remote village of Ndotsheni, in the Natal province of eastern South Africathe Reverend Stephen Kumalo receives a letter from a fellow minister summoning him to Johannesburg.
How did the changes happen? South Africa today is almost unrecognizable from the country depicted in Cry, the Beloved Country. Huge political and social changes have taken place sincethe year in which the novel is set.
But things got considerably worse before they got better. Inwhen the novel was first published, the Nationalist Party came to power and created the system of strict racial segregation known as apartheid.
Blacks were barred from many occupations, and wages for blacks were well below what whites earned. Blacks were not allowed to vote or run for office. During the s, the government created separate bantustans, or homelands, for some groups of black people. Protests against apartheid grew during the s, and the South African government cracked down on black activists.
Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress, was imprisoned for life in InSouth Africa was expelled from the United Nations. It became an international pariah and many countries imposed economic sanctions on it.
Inprotesting students in the black township of Soweto, near Johannesburg, were fired on by police. Many died, and in the near anarchy that followed, over a thousand people died, and 13, were arrested. Opposition to apartheid continued to grow, despite repression by the government.
During the late s, with South Africa internationally isolated, it finally became clear to the ruling Nationalist Party that it could not continue its racist policies.
InPrime Minister, F. Inmulti-party elections were held. It was the first time in South Africa that blacks had been allowed to vote.
Today, South Africa is a multiracial society in which whites and blacks are treated equally under the law. The economy is thriving.
Although social problems remain, as they do in any country, South Africa has witnessed the dawn that Paton envisaged at the end of the novel, one that would release the people from the "fear of bondage and the bondage of fear.
What are the different ways in which John Kumalo and Msimangu address the problem of racial injustice? The basic difference between Kumalo and Msimangu is between a political and a spiritual approach to the problem.
John Kumalo has rejected the church. The church speaks with fine words, he says, and condemns unjust laws, but it has been doing this for fifty years, and things get worse, not better.
He has turned to political activism rather than religion, and has made a name for himself by his powerful speeches calling for higher wages for the black mineworkers, who create all the wealth that the white people enjoy.
He is a Christian priest, and therefore, he say, he cannot hate the white man. He is also suspicious of those black people who seek power, because he believes that power corrupts them. They may be well motivated to begin with, but they become selfish, and use power for their own ends.
His approach is a radical, spiritual one: Because when a man loves, he seeks no power, and therefore he has power. In chapter 13, Msimangu gives an inspiring sermon at Ezenzelini, in which he emphasizes spiritual upliftment, not political action.
He preaches about inheriting the spiritual kingdom after death, not in establishing that kingdom through justice on earth. This is why some consider him a friend, or at least not a threat, to the South African government.
Unlike Msimangu, he is perceived as a threat to the government, and they will arrest him if he offers them any provocation. Does Absalom Kumalo receive a fair trial? Although Cry, the Beloved Country is a novel about injustice, Absalom Kumalo appears on the face of it to receive a fair trial.
Since he admitted that he killed Arthur Jarvis, the issue is not one of guilt or innocence but of intent, since he claims that he did not intend to kill.
Absalom receives an adequate defense, by a distinguished lawyer, and the case is considered in detail by the judge, who carefully evaluates all the evidence.Cry, the Beloved Country is a social protest against the structures of the society that would later give rise to apartheid.
Paton attempts to create an unbiased and objective view of the dichotomies it entails: he depicts whites as affected by "native crime" while blacks suffer from social instability and moral issues due to the breakdown of the tribal .
Cry, the Beloved Country is an important book because it gives us a thoughtful, wide-ranging view on the moral and social implications of legalized racism in South Africa.
But it's a great book because it ties all of these big issues to a simple story with which we can all identify: the story of a kid who makes a terrible mistake and who has to face consequences, to the heartbreak of his concerned father.
The central problem of the novel is stated by Msimangu: it is the problem of a people caught between two worlds. The old world of ritual and tribal adherence, of respect for the chief, and of tradition has been destroyed, but nothing has been offered in its place. This article argues that Cry, the beloved country in fact represents a profoundly insightful exploration of the core problems – social, political, economic – confronting South Africa at the time.
Social Views in Cry, the Beloved Country. In Alan PatonвЂ™s novel, Cry the Beloved Country, the author uses commentary and examples to depict his stance on South African society and politics. Paton was one of South Africa's greatest writers, he wrote Cry, the Beloved Country in before the apartheid laws were passed/5(1).
The central problem of the novel is stated by Msimangu: it is the problem of a people caught between two worlds. The old world of ritual and tribal adherence, of respect for the chief, and of tradition has been destroyed, but nothing has been offered in its place.