Cry the Beloved Country

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Cry, the Beloved Country – a Story of Comfort in Desolation

Describe the beginning and/or the ending of the text, and explain why they were effective.

All excellent novels have an important and significant beginning that helps set the story in motion. The beginning of each book in the thought provoking novel, Cry, the Beloved country – a Story of Comfort in Desolation by Alan Paton is such a one. Paton skilfully uses the literary technique of setting to help us understand an important idea, the idea of segregated cultures. Poetic writing, parallel structures and direct pronouns are techniques further used to emphasise the importance of the setting in the beginnings of each book in the novel.

The first chapter of each book in Cry, the Beloved Country is written poetically rather than narratively. Paton chose to use this technique so that readers would understand the situation in Africa during this time, right before Apartheid was made into law. In a poetic way, Paton successfully uses the language technique symbolism to explain to readers the differences between black and South Africans. The uphill had “rich matted green grass”, whereas the downhill the grass were “barren and coarse”. Symbolically, white South Africans would farm uphill where the grass was “rich”, thus producing better produce, and whereas black South Africans would farm downhill where the grass was “barren and coarse”. When the grass is “barren and coarse”, farming is difficult. It is also overcrowded downhill, not as open as fields uphill, symbolising the population difference between black south Africans and white south Africans. Paton is predicting that when Apartheid is made into law, it would create a huge disruption between the equalities of white South Africans and black Africans. The majority of white South Africans would gain a better deal out of the law, whereas black Africans would be living in rundown slums, in streets and there would be huge overcrowdings. Also, white South...
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