25 October 2010
Times Worldly Existence
Selflessness Throughout The Century
Many people in the 1900's, turned a blind eye at the laws that were unjust. Whether in South Africa, Canada or a fictional tale, time has shown that history has not always been so pleasant. Although, there are certain individuals in the past 100 years that have made a significant difference throughout history, starting with just a small voice. When this voice grew louder, people stopped and listened to what they had to say, gaining consciousness in society, companions in life and the ability to fight for what is right. This can all be achieved simply by an act of selflessness. Selflessness, being an act of a person who thinks of others before thinking of themselves. A sacrifice, which may mean a life long battle, that could save dozens, hundreds or thousands of people's grief, unhappiness or life. It is in a novel, written by Alan Paton, that a women asks a man, “For what else are we born?” (227, Paton) In Cry the Beloved Country, Paton expresses the universal idea that the purpose of existence is to help one's fellow man. There are some people in today's society that divert their eyes at the sight of a crisis, fictional or non-fictional. In the world of Cry The Beloved Country the big and bright Johannesburg is where some of these diverted eyes lay. Paton describes the busy, traffic-filled city, to the reader, as a close-minded, selfish environment where ignorance is on the prowl. A story is told to Kumalo, the main character who is a parson, where a woman’s “...son [was] killed in the street...by...[stepping off]...the curb...[and] the great lorry crushed the life out of [the] son” (Paton 42). This describes the city of Johannesburg to have very little conscience of the society within itself. Unlike in the city of Johannesburg, an aboriginal woman named Mary Two-Axed Earley did not turn a blind eye to the aboriginal women within her society. Mary, who lived along the time of 1911 to 1996, lost her aboriginal status when she married a Caucasian man in 1967. (New Federation) This loss, and the loss of those women around her, gave her the strength, according to a CBC radio show, becoming the founder of Indian Rights for Indian Women, and convinced Parliament to amend the Indian Act, after 20 years. This selfless act was to change the law within the Indian Act and allow aboriginal women and their children to keep their status if they chose to marry a non-aboriginal man. In achieving this goal of hers, many became aware of her voice and she received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. She was recognized for her “... tireless efforts to ensure rights for native Indian women [were] equal to those of native Indian men” (Brown). Mary's lifelong fight for justice, was a selfless act which gave her, and many other, their Indian status back and the right to be laid down to rest on the reserve in where she grew up. Mary was the first to regain her status at the age of 73. (CBC) This selflessness on Mary's part made her society aware of others abused rights and demonstrated that everyone should be equal. Along with the realization of equality, selflessness can draw people in, resulting in lifelong friendship or companionship. In the story of Cry The Beloved Country Paton introduces a character named Msimangu, who joins Kumalo in the search for his son. This partnership begins with just two fellow parson, one helping the other find there way around Johannesburg and the small surrounding towns. This partnership eventually develops into a friendship after Msimangu said harsh words to Kumalo out of anger, saying that he was, “...ashamed to walk with [Kumalo]” (101, Paton). Later down the page, Msimangu apologized for his hurtful words and promises to follow Kumalo in whatever he thinks is right. This path Msimangu and Kumalo begin to follow furthers their friendship and the reader...
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“CBC”: 02 Mar 1985. "Native women fight for equal rights ." Our Native Land. Radio. 16 Oct 2010. <http://archives.cbc.ca/society/native_issues/clips/16040/>.
Paton, Alan. Cry, The Beloved Country. 2003. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1948. 42, 101, 227. Print.
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