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Biblical refernces in the book, "Cry, the Beloved Country" by Ala...

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Biblical refernces in the book, "Cry, the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton.

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  • March 7, 2003
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Cry, the Beloved Country

The book "Cry, the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton is a book about agitation and turmoil of both whites and blacks over the white segregation policy called apartheid. The book describes how understanding between whites and blacks can end mutual fear and aggresion, and bring reform and hope to a small community of Ndotcheni as well as to South Africa as a whole. The language of the book reflects the Bible; furthermore, several characters and episodes are reminiscent of stories from the New Testament and teachings of Christ. Thus, Alan Paton, as a reformer and the author of "Cry, the Beloved Country", gives the people of South Africa a new, modern Bible, where he, like Christ, teaches to "love thy brother as yourself" in order to help whites and blacks overcome the fear and misunderstanding of each other.

The language of the book from the very beginning reveals its biblical nature. "The great valley of Umzimkulu is still in darkness, but the light will come there. Ndotcheni is still in darkness, but the light will come there also." The style includes symbols such as light and darkness, short clauses connected by "and" or "but", and repetition. This style is used to represent speech or thoughts "translated" from Zulu.

Jesus Christ is symbolized by the figure of Arthur Jarvis. He is a white reformer who fights for rights of blacks. Like Christ, he is very altruistic and wants to pursue his aims at all costs. His friend, Harrison, says: "Here [Arthur Jarvis] was, day to day, on a kind of mission." (173) Arthur Jarvis and his wife Mary "agree that it's more important to speak the truth than to make money." (172) Arthur Jarvis is killed in his house by Absalom, a black youth who gets entangled in crime. Absalom only intends to rob Arthur Jarvis, and the homicide is unintentional. Absalom thinks that Arthur Jarvis is out and comes into the house with two friends. However, when Arthur Jarvis "heard a noise, and came down to investigate"...