Cry, The Beloved Country, By Alan Paton

1373 Words6 Pages
In South Africa, the plight of apartheid tore apart communities, families, and individuals. It was a social concern that came under increasing attack and response as apartheid reached its zenith in the middle of the 20th century. It was not unlike segregation and the Jim Crow mentality that prevailed in the United States; with its ancient roots and adverse effects. Indeed, one is curiously reminded of Harper Lee’s well known novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, and its role in trying to formulate an escape from that system. An escape with various routes, but an escape that interestingly calls back to the nature of innocence and child-like questions. It is in this way that Alan Paton’s enduring novel, Cry, The Beloved Country, takes on a unique and refreshing approach to a basic question: that of the equality and dignity of all people. Throughout Cry, The Beloved Country, Paton exudes frequent references to childhood, a devout religiosity, and of course, a return to simple questions; all of which contribute the idea of innocence and a certain naiveté that contribute significantly to Paton’s message. Extended and found in abundance, the warmth and almost reassurance of children provides a foundation and almost stronghold throughout the novel. Both of the central characters around who the story is centralized are old men, but both of them experience a journey that calls to mind the idea that one is never quite finished growing up. The newness of Kumalo’s journey (with both exciting
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