Cry The Beloved Country Cry the Beloved Country “Opinions founded in prejudice are always sustained with the greatest violence.”(Jeffery) The theme of the book Cry, the Beloved Country revolves around the idea of prejudice causing violence. Throughout the book the author shows how the laws of white men caused many South Africans to resort to stealing and even murder. The book is divided into three portions, each with its own theme. The first portions shows how work forced many poor Africans to migrate from rural area into cities, causing an aberration from their heritage, where they were forced into immoral and illegal activities. The second portion of the book shows how some white men were affected by their own doings.
The third and final portion of the book shows how the deaths of two young men bring about a reconciliation between a black man and a white man, providing hope that some day the two races will live together in peace and harmony. As, white founded mining companies started to spring up so did cities, bringing many new jobs with them. As more mines were developed, more miners were needed, so affluent white men started recruiting poor black men from small villages. The poor black men were allured by the thought of being paid well and living happy lives, but they were wrong. They were only paid three shillings a day and lived in houses that were complete dumps.
Many miners thought that if they found more gold they would be rewarded, but they were wrong. Countless miners had families who depended on them, and three shillings a day was not enough for food, shelter, and clothing. Almost all of these miners did not want to meet with adversity, so they resorted to other ways of getting food and clothing. A lot of these miners resorted to stealing and even murder to get morsels of food and a few shillings from white people. In effect, white men had brought this violence on themselves.
In the story Steven Kumalo, a black reverend, sends his son, Absalom, to Johannesburg to find his sister who’s husband had gone looking for work in the mines. After a few months Steven became worried because he had heard no word from his son. When he goes to Johannesburg to find his sister and son, he is abject to find that his sister, who had become very frail, was forced to become a prostitute to support her child and his son had murdered a white man who ironically was abetting the black people. Arthur Jarvis the man who had been killed by Absalom had lived in an adjacent farm when the two men were younger. When on trial, Absalom tells the whole truth in hope of lenience and pleads for a acquittal, but is punished with the most severe castigation, death. While his a accomplices are ironically acquitted.
After the trial, Steven felt antipathy towards his brother, John, who tried to use chicanery to get his son out of trouble. John had told his son to tell apocryphal tales of the events that had happened on the day of the murder. After a while of contemplation, Steven goes to his brothers shop and all of a sudden lashes out with great acrimony towards his brother. Although blacks were suffering more than whites, nonetheless whites where suffering too. One example of this is Mr. Jarvis, whose son, Arthur Jarvis, was killed by Steven Kumalo’s son Absalom. Mr.
Jarvis did not always get along with his, maverick, son because his son believed that all blacks were innocent because the white race had caused blacks to resort to violence. After Arthur’s death, Mr. Jarvis became more adamant in his views of blacks. He believed that a white person should treat a black person well, but that blacks and whites should stay isolated from each other. The idea of how a black man could kill somebody who was on their side was abstruse to Jarvis.
The third portion of the book shows that the death of ones loved one can make a person do anything, even come to a reconciliation with a completely different race which white people had previously abased. Both Steven’s son Absalom, who was killed by being hung, and Arthur are killed. The two fathers cared very deeply for their sons and would have not thought it imaginable for the two to forgive and forget. When Absalom is scheduled to be hung Steven hikes up a sacred mountain to pray for the absolution of his son and to assuage his own pain. While he is up there he converges and consoles Mr. Jarvis, who gives Steven money to build a new church for his village.
Steven agrees to this, but Mr. Jarvis has one condition that Steven put up one stone with Arthur’s name on it. A few days before Steven had prayed for rain because South Africa was having a horrible drought, as he had been leaving for the mountain a torrential rain flooded the land symbolizing hope that someday the two races will coincide with each other peacefully. Through his narration Alan Paton described the adversity and turmoil that filled many Africans lives. He literally made the reader one with the character he was speaking about at that moment.
Paton showed the reader that out of bad something good can come. The younger generation showed the path to the future.