Cry, the Beloved Country is a novel by Alan Paton, published in American publisher Two cinema adaptations of the book have been made, the first in and the second in The novel was also adapted as a musical called Lost. Cry, the Beloved Country book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important. . Cry, the Beloved Country is a novel by Alan Paton that was first published in Read a Plot Overview of the entire book or a chapter by chapter Summary.

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Cry My Beloved Country Book

Hailed as one of the greatest South African novels, Cry, the Beloved Country was first published in the United States, bringing international attention to South. An Oprah Book Club selection, Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important novel in South Africa's history, was an immediate worldwide bestseller . Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.

October 3, by Jen Chau. It is set in the South Africa of the s to be precise — a country fraught with racial tensions and searching desperately for a solution to its problems. Apartheid was instituted only four months after book was published. This is a touching, evocative book which offers much to think about. It is often quite beautifully executed, and the portrait of the main character, the Reverend Stephen Kumalo, is poignantly vivid. The turmoil and confusion and poverty and physical beauty of South Africa is enthralling, as is the passion of the handful of South African characters who are committed to seeing justice one day served in their country. However, this book also offers a stark reminder to those of us who are concerned with social justice of the importance of constantly interrogating our prejudices and assumptions. For the modern reader there is much in Cry, the Beloved Country to cringe at, despite the fact that at its time of publication it was unquestionably very progressive. We hear much praise for the white South Africans struggling for justice: The corruption of black officials and politicians is made heavy and frequent allusion to. The reader is encouraged to feel an overwhelming admiration for the white characters who reach out across the colour line — there is a particularly nauseating scene where a little white boy delights an elderly black man by deigning to enter his house and speak a few words of his language — however, when black characters do the same the event is treated as un-extraordinary.

He certainly didn't mean to kill Arthur. He fired that shot by accident, out of shock at seeing Arthur at home. Kumalo goes to meet with the girl who is carrying Absalom's child to tell her that Absalom is going on trial for murder. At first, Kumalo gets angry at the girl for her loose sexual ways, but soon he realizes that she is powerless and inexperienced with the world.

He asks if she will marry Absalom and then come to live with Kumalo's family in Ndotsheni.

Cry, the Beloved Country Summary

The girl seems thrilled to have the chance to leave Johannesburg and settle down with the Kumalos, even if it means marrying an accused murderer. At the beginning of the second part, we switch perspectives suddenly to James Jarvis, father of the murder victim Arthur Jarvis. By a strange coincidence, Jarvis's farm happens to be right next to Kumalo's village of Ndotsheni. When Jarvis hears the news that Arthur has been murdered, he and his wife immediately arrange to travel to Johannesburg to see their daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

When Jarvis starts going through his son's library, he finds a half-finished article by Arthur—half-finished because Arthur was shot in his own kitchen before he could complete it. The manuscript is all about the responsibility Arthur feels to the black community in South Africa, to improve their living conditions and opportunities. As Jarvis reads, he begins to appreciate his son's passion for social reform. Absalom's trial begins. Absalom's defense is that yes, he broke into Arthur's house with two other men, and yes, he was carrying an illegal gun, and yes, he shot Arthur fatally.

But, while he is guilty of killing Arthur, he is not guilty of intentional murder. He accidentally fired the shot when Arthur surprised Absalom and his two buddies in the kitchen.

Absalom's two "friends" John's son Matthew Kumalo and another guy named Johannes Pafuri betray him by saying that the whole plan was Absalom's and that they weren't even there that night. Still, Absalom sticks to his word under pretty severe questioning from the judge. During the trial, Jarvis and Margaret spend the court's breaks at the house of a nearby relative.

It just so happens that this relative, Barbara Smith, is the last known employer of the daughter of Sibeko. That's the girl who way back at the beginning of the book one of the men from Ndotsheni asked Kumalo to track down in Johannesburg. So, by an extremely unlucky chance, Kumalo comes knocking at Barbara Smith's door to ask about the girl when Jarvis just happens to be there to answer it.

Kumalo admits to Jarvis that it was his son who killed Jarvis's son. This whole encounter between the two fathers is so tragic; tears are welling up in our eyes just typing this, seriously.

Oh, and there is no real news on the fate of the daughter of Sibeko—she's clearly just a plot device to bring Kumalo and Jarvis together to break our hearts. The judge comes to his decision. He believes that Absalom's two friends—Johannes Pafuri and Matthew Kumalo—were probably in on the burglary. But the proof isn't definite, so he must find them not guilty.

He also believes that Absalom is, to some extent, a victim of the lack of opportunity caused by the colonial destruction of black tribal cultures in South Africa.

But the judge can't just excuse Absalom as an individual because of larger social problems. Absalom confessed to killing Arthur Jarvis, and he cannot absolutely prove that it wasn't intentional, so he has to hang for his crime. Kumalo visits the prison with Msimangu, his sister Gertrude, Absalom's girlfriend, and a kindly white priest named Father Vincent.

Father Vincent performs a wedding ceremony for Absalom and his girlfriend so that she can officially join the Kumalo family. As Kumalo gets up to leave, Absalom bursts into tears and begs Kumalo not to leave him: he is afraid of being executed. Excuse us while we start crying yet again. Kumalo returns to Ndotsheni with Absalom's bride and Gertrude's little son. Gertrude herself has run away—she doesn't want to go back to village life with Kumalo.

Back in Ndotsheni, Kumalo attempts to get someone to teach farming techniques so that more kids will find opportunities to stay in the village and work the land. Analysis: This chapter serves as the introduction to the protagonist of Cry, the Beloved Country, the pastor Stephen Kumalo, establishing his main conflicts and character traits. From his first encounter with the small child, Paton establishes Kumalo as a kind man yet powerful and respected within his community despite his poverty, as shown by the small savings that he and his wife had scraped together for their son's education.

Kumalo is decidedly a man of the country; he and his wife approach Johannesburg as a nearly mythic place where people go and are never seen again.

Paton establishes this sense of awe and wonder in the city in order to create a legitimate sense that Kumalo is an outsider once he actually reaches the urban area. This chapter also introduces one of the major themes of Cry, the Beloved Country: the reassembling of the family.

Paton establishes that three members of the Kumalo family are now in Johannesburg, and a major thrust of the novel will involve bringing these disparate family members together. The most important of these characters is the errant son Absalom Kumalo , whose fate will be the major preoccupation of Stephen Kumalo as the story progresses. Paton creates a definite sense that Absalom has been lost to his family, with the mention that he will never come back to Ixopo and the use of his savings for other purposes, as well as the dread with which the Kumalos approach the letter from Johannesburg; however, despite this dread it is important to note that Stephen and his wife have not given up hope for Absalom, and it is this hope that will provide a major motivation for Stephen Kumalo's actions.

The use of the word "umfundisi" is important, for it encompasses both the literal meaning "parson" as applied to Stephen Kumalo, but is also used as a sign of respect.

Cry, the Beloved Country Summary

Thus the use of the term to characters other than Kumalo and Reverend Msimangu does not necessarily indicate their occupation, but is used as a title of respect akin to "sir" or "mister.

He remembers the story of Mpanza, whose son Michael was killed in the street of Johannesburg when he inadvertently stepped into traffic.

His most pressing fear, however, concerns his son. Before the train leaves, Kumalo's companion asks him to inquire about the daughter of Sibeko , who has gone to Johannesburg to work for the daughter of the white man uSmith.

Sibeko himself did not ask because he is not a member of their church, but Kumalo insists that he is of their people no matter. Kumalo travels with the fear of a man who lives "in a world not made for him, whose own world is slipping away. The first anecdote deals with the literal physical dangers provided by the city, while the second anecdote bolsters earlier assertions that Johannesburg is a place where people from the country go, never to be seen again.

Paton also establishes the character of Stephen Kumalo in greater detail. In dealing with the case of Sibeko, he is both kindly and stern, insisting that Sibeko has no reason not to make his request directly, for they are both from the same people despite having different churches, but he nevertheless admits that he may find some matters more pressing. Kumalo is single-minded in his quest in Johannesburg, despite the multitude of worries.

Despite the immediate danger for Gertrude, Kumalo displays a much greater worry concerning the missing Absalom, thus foreshadowing that the main narrative of the novel will involve his son and not his sister. Perhaps the most important trait of Stephen Kumalo that Paton establishes is that Kumalo is a man who is reaching obsolescence.

He is a small rural pastor who does not live in the modern world and is growing to find that the remnants of his world are collapsing around him. Chapter Four: The train passes the mines outside of Johannesburg, which Kumalo suspects might be the city, and the signs shift from Kumalo's Zulu language to the Afrikaans language that dominates the city. When the train reaches Johannesburg, Kumalo sees tall buildings and lights that he had never seen before.

To Kumalo, the noise is immense, and he prays for Tixo the name of the Xosa god to watch over him. A young man approaches Kumalo and asks him where he wants to go. He tells Kumalo that he must wait in line for the bus, but that he will go to the ticket office to download the ticket for him. Kumalo gives him the money, but the young man does not return, and an elderly man tells Stephen that he can only download the ticket on the bus: he has been cheated.

Kumalo travels with the elderly man, Mr. Mafolo, and they arrive at the Mission House, where Reverend Msimangu greets him. Analysis: This chapter focuses primarily on the descriptions of Johannesburg as an imposing and threatening place. Paton establishes that the city is foreign to Kumalo in many ways, even in language; Kumalo has so little experience with urban areas that he mistakes a mining area for a metropolis.

Kumalo is therefore the quintessential outsider when he reaches Johannesburg. This is important in several respects.

Cry, the Beloved Country Summary and Analysis of Book I, Chapters 1-6

His outsider status allows Paton to use characters, most importantly Msimangu, to explain the workings and logistics of Johannesburg that would be obvious to an actual citizen of urban South Africa. Also, the novelty of the situation allows Kumalo a greater attention to detail, thus creating opportunities for detailed description of horrors that may seem routine to any modern reader.

Lastly, Kumalo's status as an outsider, as this chapter certainly demonstrates, makes the pastor a ready victim for opportunists. The relationship between Reverend Msimangu and Stephen Kumalo will be an important one throughout the novel.

Msimangu, like Kumalo, is a deeply religious man, yet his experience in Johannesburg has given him a much different perspective.

Book Review: Cry, the Beloved Country |

He will serve essentially as the guide to Stephen Kumalo as he journeys throughout the South African city on his various quests. Chapter Five: Msimangu offers Kumalo a room in the house of the elderly Mrs. Before they eat, Kumalo washes his hands and witnesses indoor plumbing for the first time. Kumalo eats at the Mission House along with a priest from England and another priest from Ixopo.

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