Symbols of the Spiritless
Society has dictated that if one takes care of the land, the land will take care of the people. Taking care of the Earth is something that can be seen throughout history. Native Americans highly valued the land. Al Gore’s speech on global warming taught that someday the resources are going to be gone and the Earth will turn against the people. In the novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, the reader can see that the land is going to be an essential part. Paton uses the country to represent many of the happenings that contribute to the journey of Kumalo.
Paton describes the land as sacred. The belief of the people is that the land will always support them and in return the land is something that they can exist on only if it is looked after and cared for. In the very first chapter Paton writes “the grass is rich and matted, you cannot see the soil. It holds the rain and the mist, and they seep into the ground, feeding the streams in every kloof. It is well tended and not too many cattle feed upon it; not too many fires burn it, laying bare the soil. Stand unshod upon it, for the ground is holy, being even as it came from the Creator” (33). This is significant because it is written in the beginning of the novel, which also indicates that (before inequality) Africa was considerably cared for. The land is a symbol of Africa, and if the land is admirably kept than the people of Africa will be admirably kept. Consequently, there has been research in how inanimate objects affect lives. “We continue to respond to these rhythms [developed mechanisms] in the way we feel and behave” (Rosenthal 3). Paton goes on to write “Keep it, guard it, care for it, for it keeps men, guards men, cares for men. Destroy it and man is destroyed” (33). Paton has indicated here again, that what one does to the land is directly related to what the land does to oneself. If one destroys the land, then eventually the land will destroy that same person. Out of...
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