We know that any country has a period of flowering and a period of decline. When difficulties came to the country, then one part of the population are suffering, while the other are rich and happy. An injustice was, is and will be for all the times. The story “Cry The Beloved Country” is about the period of decline. All global problems are illustrated in the example of an ordinary family life.
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This essay on Cry the Beloved Country includes the information about the author, about the plot and main characters of the novel.
A talented South-African writer Alan Paton was also a liberal politics. His father was a minor civil servant. But despite his British origin, the man was rather cruel, authoritarian, had racist’s point of view, he was prone to physical abuse. Maybe for this reason since his childhood, Alan Payton hated violence and racism.
Alan Payton graduated from the University of Natal, received a teacher's specialty. He worked as a teacher. He was fond of English literature, especially Dickens, Scott and Brooke. Soon he started to write himself. But writing was not the main purpose in his life. For almost 15 years he worked as the principal of Diepkloof Reformatory for young (black African) offenders. During these years Alan tried to change the life of the prisoners. All the prisoners moved from their barracks to some kind of hostels. They were allowed to visit the city during their vacations and even fork there for some time. The prisoners could have meetings with relatives much more often than earlier. More them 10 000 of prisoners received the benefits and only 500 tried to escape.
Later Alan went travelling for his own money. He visited Sweden, USA and Norway. The main goal of his travelling was to study the experience of different prisons. Later his work experience we can find in his literary works. All his life Alan was for the racial equality. He took an active part in different protests against apartheid. At the last years of his life he became more conservative in his views. After his death a lot of his statements became very popular and people used them as philosophical slogans.
About The Novel
“Cry, The Beloved Country” was Alan’s first book. He wrote it in 1946 when he was in travelling Norway (Trondheim City). In two years the book was published. After the publishing this antiracism novel, Alan Paton was forced to live his service in the government. The book became very popular at once, it was reprinted more than one time. In general was sold more than 15 million copies of this novel. On the base of this novel was created the famous Broadway musical called The Lost in the Stars, and two films.
The publisher Bennett Cerf considered this novel one of the best, which was published at that year and said that, of course, it is worth reading. Nowadays this book is included to the school programs in different countries. In the references the author admitted that almost all the characters of the story were fictional. The described cities were also fictional, but the main facts he borrowed from the history of real cities.
Alan Paton was a Christian. Reading his novel we can easily notice a lot of references from the Bible. First of all there are a lot of names in the novel, which were taken from the Bible (Peter, Absalom).
There are a lot of characters in the novel. The main character was Stephen Kumalo. The events happened in the South Africa. The story started from that moment, when Stephen received letter with invitation to visit Johannesburg. Stephen was a good priest and he believed God with all his heart. The man also had the clear sense of right and wrong. It was a difficult and expensive journey but people needed Kumalo there. Besides, Stephen wanted to find his son Absalom and to help his sister Gertrude, who became a prostitute and was ill. The priest asked his poor sister and her child to come back home.
The searching of his son was really very difficult. Kumalo traveled from one place to another and he noticed racial and economic injustice. His heart ached for his son and for the country which was falling apart. Later he discovered that Absalom left the pregnant girl. Furthermore Absalom was arrested for the murder of the white crusader for the racial justice called Arthur Jarvis. The father Kumalo tried to understand what had happened to his son. He also wanted to help the pregnant girl and invited her to come back with him as his daughter-in-law.
When Kumalo met the killed Arthur’s father he was very upset. He expressed sadness and regret to the poor father. At last Absalom was sentenced to death. You can read the information about death penalty in our capital punishment essay.
Kumalo came back to his village, he was very upset and disappointed in how quickly people lose their faith. James Jarvis had the same thoughts. He was rich and started to help people in the village. He sent them milk and taught them new farm and agricultural techniques.
The day of Absalom’s execution has come. Father Kumalo went to the mountains. At such a tragic moment he wanted to be alone in almost silence. Only God and the nature were his friends at that time. He started to pray and the dawn breaks over the valley.
This book is not easy for understanding. It is full of thoughts and tragic moments. But despite all these things we can find a great hope on the pages of this novel. I advise you to make time and to read this book fluently. Sometimes everybody of us needs some time to think a little about God, our life and the future death. There are some things that we can change while we are alive.