Summer Assignment Topic A - Cry, the Beloved Country
Alan Paton’s work is significant in that it highlights and analyzes, from both white and black perspective, the racial boundary and its effect on society as a whole. This boundary, as Paton emphasizes, has a diverse affect on different groups of people, as well as individuals. The way that those individuals react, in Paton’s book, defines whether or not those individuals are viewed as the enemy or the victim. While their initial reactions may be different, their final reactions are the same; that is, they find spiritual reassessment and moral reconciliation.
Stephan Kumalo is often displayed as the protagonist of the book, even though Paton
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Even though Kumalo is black and Jarvis is a white man, the two find themselves on very similar ground; they have both lost a son in ways that are not only literal, but in a figurative way. Jarvis realizes that he does not even know his son, while Kumalo had not talked to Absalom since he left for Johannesburg so long ago. This fact instantly causes them to be connected, for not only did they have similar relations to their sons, but also the fate of one was intertwined with the fate of the other. When Kumalo goes to look for his sister and comes in contact with Jarvis, he realizes that he is frightened of him reasons being because he is a victim of his heir, but also due to his whiteness. When Jarvis sees this, he begins to realize how unjust the society he lives in is. This combined with the fact that Jarvis didn’t get to know Arthur or his writing until after his death causes Jarvis to have a change of heart and forgive Kumalo and the black race, ultimately assisting them against their struggle for equality. Jarvis’s willingness to forgive and help sets his soul at peace and defines his moral and spiritual reconciliation.
While a reader may not see Absalom as a victim at first, the displays Absalom makes, both in confessing and in groveling at his father’s feet, leads us to realize that Absalom is ignorant and innocent, revealing himself to be a