Courageous & Complex
Cry, the Beloved Country is a compelling novel written by Alan Paton that tells the story of a distraught South Africa, and how one father faces the struggles of putting his family back together. Cry, the Beloved Country takes place in South Africa around the 1940’s. Stephen Kumalo, a priest that lives in the village of Ndotsheni, receives a letter unexpectedly, asking him to come to the city of Johannesburg because his sister Gertrude is very ill. Kumalo is willing to make this long and expensive journey, being that two other of his family members live there; his brother and his son. While in Johannesburg, Kumalo discovers not only his sister in a rough state, but also his son, Absolom, in an even worse state. What Kumalo doesn’t expect during this journey is the way his and James Jarvis’ lives intertwine, and how much courage it takes to get through the difficult times he faces. Kumalo finds this courage and is the most courageous because of his faithfulness to God and his approaches to problematic situations. James Jarvis is forgiving, understanding, and a man of action. His actions speak louder than any of the little dialogue he speaks. Jarvis is very unenlightened of the unfairness and prejudice in his own country, South Africa. After receiving the news that his son, Arthur Jarvis, is dead, he soon discovers how much of a stranger he is to his own son. While visiting his son’s home in Johannesburg, he uncovers who his son really is. Arthur is very involved with the political part of South Africa, and James is not aware of this. Arthur’s standpoints on racism and poverty are especially different from his father’s, and Arthur has become a sort of leader in the community from his speeches. James tries to recognize what his son does, so he reads his essays and articles, and is motivated by Arthur’s language and ideas. James doesn’t get as involved with civil rights as his son does, but when he returns to Ndotsheni his actions begin to take...
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