Importance of Friends: Cry, the Beloved Country

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Friends Make the Man
The influence of friends is of massive importance in the novel Cry, the Beloved Country. Without his friends encouraging him, Absalom would most likely never have tried to rob Arthur Jarvis’ house, and he certainly would not have accidentally shot Arthur. Absalom said it himself when he told his father, “It was bad companions.” The reader is repeatedly reminded of this one condemning mistake: choosing bad friends results in dangerous activities.

Another example of this message is the mother of Absalom’s child. Growing up, her family was practically nonexistent and it can be assumed that she didn’t have great friends to support and strengthen her. Instead, she always kept a man in her life and ended up the mother of a child out of wedlock with the father sentenced to death. If helpful family and friends had been available, her life would most likely have changed for the better.

There are bad friends, nonexistent friends, but what about the good friends? These are the ones Kumalo kept. He made it clear what kind of friends he chose when he was speaking to Absalom, “You mean they were the kind of friends that a good man could choose, upright, hard-working, obeying the law?” Msimangu was exactly this kind of friend. Instead of just looking out for himself, he often put Kumalo’s well-being before his own. This man truly cared about others, a rare and wonderful quality. As if being there for Kumalo and helping him deal with Absalom’s incarceration in any way he could wasn’t enough, he gave Kumalo a large sum of money to replace all that was spent while trying to find and help Absalom. Msimangu was simply the epitome of a loving, caring, true friend.

Of course, a friend doesn’t have to be a living, breathing, walking, talking person. Friendship can be found in something as simple as words written. Even after his death, Arthur Jarvis’ words reached out to comfort and impact his father—James Jarvis. Arthur’s words became a friend to his...
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