Cry, The Beloved Country Term Paper

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Cry, The Beloved Country Cry, The Beloved Country was written in 1948, by Alan Paton. It is a novel written about South Africa, like Paton s Hope for South Africa, and The Land and People of South Africa. This was a realistic book because of its exceptional setting, symbolism, and character development. All of these elements make the book come to life as it is read. The setting of the story is parallel to the way life really was in South Africa. It mainly takes place in the great city of Johannesburg where all the natives tribes go to find work, money and housing. There, Stephen Kumalo finds his sister living in terrible conditions, the way that black people really did at that time. They had their own part of the city, with their own schools and their own buses. It even gave the example of showing how the whites lived, and how the blacks lived in very separate, and unequal living conditions. The whites were wealthy in the nice part of town, and controlling the society, and the blacks, almost being slaves to them, and living in the least proficient part of town. The setting helps the reader feel like this is a real story, but that is actually how it was at one time. There are many exceptional examples of symbolism in the novel. The positions of blacks and white in society are the same as their geographical positions. The whites live on the best land while the blacks live on the deficient land. Another source of symbolism is when the soil of the hills is red. The land it very eroded, and it causes the rivers to become blood red like a vast, open and bleeding wound. It symbolizes Africa bleeding because of inequality and the erosion of the African society itself. It also can be symbolic of the wearing down of Stephen s family. Symbolism is used greatly though out the novel. The main characters in the novel grow though the changes that take place in their lives, like everyone does. They view life one way and then become more open minded as they experience new things. Stephen Kumalo was a good man that was a priest but didn t understand the rest of the world besides his. He respected the tribal traditions and didn t understand why it would break down. Stephen said this: " Cry for the broken tribe, for the law and the custom that is gone. Aye, and cry aloud for the man who is dead, for the woman and children bereaved. Cry, the beloved country." Through his suffering he is able to better understand other people s problems. He then uses his energy to help better Africa. James Jarvis is another good example of character development. He was a person that had what ever he could want, such as a nice estate, and money. He was able to stay separated from the world issues. When his son was killed he finally got to know him, and almost becomes him. He changes his views from traditional to liberal. He get an understanding of the racial problem in South Africa and does things to help the black people out, like giving them money and teaching them ways to improve themselves. Cry, The Beloved Country uses great setting, symbolism, and character development. This novel seemed very real. I thought it was a well-written book but this isn t the type of book that I enjoy reading.

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