The purpose of Cry, the Beloved Country, is to awaken the population of
South Africa to the racism that is slowly disintegrating the society and its
people. Alan Paton designs his work to express his views on the injustices and
racial hatred that plague South Africa, in an attempt to bring about change and
understanding. The characters that he incorporates within his story, help to
establish a sense of the conditions and hardships that the country is
experiencing, and the presence of fear through the whole of the populace.
Presenting the characters as having one-sided personalities or by referring to
them by a simple label, Paton indicates that these evils are universal and
fundamental within human nature.
As Stephen Kumalo searches for his son, Absalom, Paton has several events
befall onto Kumalo in order to represent the harsh society that many of the
blacks live in. The first event occurs when Kumalo arrives in Johannesburg,
afraid from the stories that he has heard, he puts his trust in another black
man who appears to be of good intentions, but in reality cheats Kumalo of his
money. This experience is unlike his time on the train, in which Kumalo had
been treated with immense respect. On the train he is aware of the respect that
other blacks hold for him, because he is a man of God, though, in the city, his
social standing demonstrates little significance. This may be taken as a sign
that the idea of a God may be questioned or less acceptable to the people, when
they have positions in a society that are cruel and not beneficial.
Kumalo does find assistance when he asks for help from an older man, who
kindly escorts him to the Mission House. The contrast that Paton creates here is
the fact that not all blacks think with the same purpose, a common
characteristic of stereotypes, which Paton feels the people should rise above.
He seeks to imply that judgement of a person should be based more on... [continues]
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(1999, 10). Cry, the Beloved Country: Stimulating a Change. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Cry-Beloved-Country-Stimulating-Change-5114.html
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