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Cry the Beloved Country

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Cry the Beloved Country

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The novel Cry, the Beloved Country contains many different themes, including fear, reconciliation, hope, anger and personal responsibility. However, the theme that best shapes the novel is social breakdown and racial injustice in the community. One of the novel's messages is that "inequality in human rights, living conditions, and personal empowerment based on racial or ethnic differences are unjust and ultimately intolerable (Putnam 1). The novel accurately points out the racial and social injustice between the white farm owners and black workers, which in turn leads to the social breakdown of the community.

The society depicted in the novel is a very unjust one, often times divided on racial lines. The white people that came to South Africa acted heartlessly toward the blacks who tried to make a living on the farms. When they arrived, the white men took most, if not all of the profitable farmland from the native black people. These actions resulted in the native blacks leaving their tribal villages and trying to find other work in the big city. An example of black natives leaving their land and trying to find work in the city is Absalom Kumalo, Son of Reverend Stephen Kumalo. Absalom fled the rural countryside in search of work in Johannesburg. Another person who went to the big city was Gertrude Kumalo, sister of Stephen. She went there in search of her husband, who left the rural land to find work in the gold mines. Both Absalom and Gertrude fell from grace when they moved to Johannesburg, which leads to the next theme of the novel, social breakdown.

The result of all the racial injustices occurring in South Africa was social breakdown. When the white men took all the profitable farmland from the blacks and drove them off their tribes, native blacks lost the traditional social structures that gave them stability. When the blacks moved to Johannesburg, they rarely found work, and if they did, the wages were almost always insubstantial. The social...

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