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By | Feb. 2013
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Cry the Beloved Country is a stupendous book which has an abundance of symbolism. Alan Paton, the writer of this book uses an abundance of symbolic images for his characters. One of these characters that Alan Paton symbolizes is Stephen Kumalo, the main character in Cry the Beloved Country. Stephen has grown up most of his life in Ndotsheni. He is a quiet, humble, and gentle man with a strong moral sense and an abiding faith in God. Stephen Kumalo is an Umfundisi, which means old and powerful. He is old, so throughout the book he is guided by one of his friends. The bible and a baby best represents Stephen Kumalo as a symbolic character in Cry the Beloved Country.

One thing Stephen Kumalo symbolizes is a baby. When babies are born, they are innocent, fragile, gullible, and need someone to guide them. Just like babies, Stephen is new to the city of Johannesburg and needs someone to tell him where to go. When Stephen gets to Johannesburg, he trusts a complete stranger, pays him a pound to get his bus ticket, and gets robbed by the stranger. “I gave a pound to a young man he said, and he told me he would get my ticket at the ticket office. You have been cheated Umfundisi” (Paton49). The quote shows that Stephen will trust just about anyone since he isn’t familiar with Johannesburg and since it is part of his culture. Being a priest, Stephen thinks that almost all people are good, so being gullible and fragile he trust that people would do the right thing. This relates to a baby because babies are gullible and will trust just about anyone to help them in the world.

Another thing that symbolizes Stephen is a Bible. Stephen was a very religious man similar to Msimangu. He believed in God and a Heaven. He was a Christian and repented for anything he thought he did wrong. After he hears the judgment of his son Absalom Kumalo, he goes one of the churches of South Africa and prays for his son. “Let us go into the church and pray. After the Bishop had gone, Kumalo...

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