Cry, the Beloved Country Commentary

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Cry, The Beloved Country Commentary

Fear and Religion

And now for all the people of Africa, the beloved country. Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, God save Africa. But he would not see that salvation. It lay afar off, because men were afraid of it. Because, to tell the truth, they were afraid of him, and his wife, and Msimangu, and the young demonstrator. And what was there evil in their desires, in their hunger? That man should walk upright in the land where they were born, and be free to use the fruits of the earth, what was there evil in it? Yet men were afraid, with a fear that was deep, deep in the heart, a fear so deep that they hid their kindness, or brought it our with fierceness and anger, and hit it behind fierce and frowning eyes They were afraid because they were so few. And such fear could not be cast out, but by love. (310-311)

Christianity plays a pivotal role in Paton’s Cry, The Beloved Country. Kumalo struggles throughout the story with his beliefs, having his religion shaken by what he sees in Johannesburg. More importantly, the entire plot revolves around the injustices Christianity has brought to South Africa and how it has turned wrong in the hands of white people. However, Kumalo notes that at the end of the book, Christianity is bringing fear to people, and this fear becomes the bases for the prejudice against blacks. This story is furthermore about a relationship between father and son. Because of Kumalo’s knowledgeable idea, the realization that it will be awhile before people are going to be able to love instead of fear, and the relationship told throughout the story, I believe Paton is aiming to create a Messiah like figure with Absalom. The father understands why Absalom’s death is so important to society; however, society does not and continues to be ruthless. However, Absalom’s death is significant in the fact that it stands for the injustice between the white and blacks in South Africa. Much like Jesus died for our sins, Absalom...
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