Critical essays on cry the beloved country
Concerning the state of racial affairs in South Africa, the novel tells the story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his search in Johannesburg for his son, who is accused of murdering the white social reformer Arthur Jarvis. Paton gave the novel to Aubrey and Marigold Burns of Fairfax, California, who sent it to several American publishers, including Charles Scribner's Sons, whose editor, Maxwell Perkins, immediately agreed to its publication. According to Paton's note on the edition of the book, the novel was titled as such during a competition in which Paton, Aubrey and Marigold Burns each decided to write a proposed title and all three chose Cry, the Beloved Country.
Sabinet | Christianity and liberalism in Cry, the Beloved Country
Upon the publication of the novel in , Cry, the Beloved Country became an instant phenomenon with near unanimous praise. Soon after its publication the composer Kurt Weill adapted it into a musical, "Lost in the Stars," and Paton himself worked on the screenplay for the film adaptation of the novel, directed by Zoltan Korda. Undoubtedly much of the power of the novel comes from its depiction of the particular social conditions in its contemporary South Africa.
The novel takes place in the time immediately before the institution of apartheid in the nation the character Msimangu even discusses the possibility of apartheid , which occurred within a year of the novel's publication. Therefore, although the novel does not discuss the state of South Africa during the apartheid years, Cry, the Beloved Country is often used as a proxy for lessons concerning apartheid-era South Africa.
Even before the apartheid years, as Paton makes clear in his novel, discrimination against blacks in South Africa was significant. Blacks were forbidden from holding political office, had no viable unions, and certain positions were closed to them.
The Native Lands Act prevented blacks outside of the Cape Province from buying land not part of certain reserves. But apartheid was officially institutionalized in with the election of the National Party and Daniel Malan as Prime Minister.
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The National Party enshrined apartheid into law with such legislation as the Group Areas Act, which specified that separate areas be reserved for the four main racial groups whites, blacks, Coloreds, and Asians. The African National Congress, a group of black leaders under the leadership of Albert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela, emerged as the principal opposition to apartheid and the National Party's reforms.
The African National Congress became increasingly militant, even using terrorist tactics that led to the government banning the ANC in After several decades, the end of apartheid was a slow one that began with the election of F. De Klerk began to permit multiracial crowds to protest against apartheid and met with blacks leaders such as Bishop Desmond Tutu. A third example is the young white man who works at the reformatory to which Absalom is sent.
He tries everything he knows to set Absalom on a more productive path in life. The major example is of course James Jarvis. The fact that Jarvis, who had never shown any interest in helping Ndotsheni, even though his farm overlooks the impoverished valley, can undergo a change of heart is a sign that such things are possible.
The hope for the future lies in the fact that the races are capable of cooperation, if individuals decide to overcome the false barriers that have been set up between them. The novel suggests that societal change will only come when there is a change within mens' hearts, but it holds out the hope that such change can and will happen. We provide an educational supplement for better understanding of classic and contemporary literature.
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A Literary Analysis of Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
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