Cry, The Beloved Country: The Breakdown and Rebuilding of South African Society
"...what God has not done for South Africa
man must do." pg. 25
In the book, Cry, the Beloved Country, written by Alan Paton, some major conflicts follow the story from beginning to end. Two of these conflicts would be as follows; first, the breakdown of the ever so old and respected tribe; and second, the power of love and compassion and how that it can rebuild broken relationships. This story gives the reader the perfect perspective in learning about the injustices that have taken place in South Africa, and it gives us a sense of the trials and hardships the blacks went through then. Cry, is a story about a Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and how he sets out to bring his family back together. While he sets out about doing this he realizes that his family is completely in the shambles and his family has strayed from the church and tribal traditions. Kumalo eventually learns to deal with this and while he is doing this, he makes a friend, James Jarvis, that changes the way he has looked on life.
The tribal breakdown starts to show in book I, with the land that the tribe must use and how the people have used up the natural resources that used to lay there. The whites pushed them out of where they used to reside where the land is so good that it could be even referred to as "holy, being even as it came from the Creator." (pg. 3). In the rural areas such as this the decay comes as a result of making the blacks live in confined areas where the land is so bad it can't be farmed any more, and the taking of the strong males out of these areas to go work in the mines were things are unsafe and people rarely return. Because of this, the people leave the tribe to go on the roads to travel to Johannesburg, because "All roads lead to Johannesburg." (pg. 10).
As Kumalo arrives in Johannesburg he finally realizes what a problem he has stepped into....
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