April 21, 2011
Cry, the Beloved Country
Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton, tells the story of Reverend Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom and of their relationship as father and son. At the time the novel is set, many events are occurring: tribal societies are falling, urban cities are growing, and social injustices have become very common during this time. These events cause drastic changes in the live of these two men and many other characters in the novel. Alan Paton has a reoccurring motif throughout the whole novel to help portray his themes more clearly, such motif is that of fear. Paton shows the readers that the people of South Africa fear of society and of the mysterious nature of life. Through the use of the motif of fear, Alan Paton is able to successfully demonstrate universal themes in Cry, the Beloved Country.
In the novel, Paton very accurately describes the way urban cities and tribal societies clashed. His novel was historically accurate in that he incorporated apartheid, which was the law of the land at the time the novel was set. Apartheid kept the races separated, and did not allow for the races to come together and bring South Africa as a whole nation. In the novel, most black men avoided having to come in contact with the white folks, and when they did they were very serene in doing so. But as time went on and Africa became a black man’s country under white man’s law, people started to revolt and protest. This made the black people fear society as it was very unfair when it came to laws, and there was a sense of racism as well. There were boycotts and slowly crime rates started increasing. Fear was everywhere; through this fear Alan Paton was able to show the themes of the deterioration of tribal society and the fight for social justice. This fear kept the people apart, as Msimangu said: “I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving; they will find we are turned to hating”...
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