Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Decent Essays

Cry, the Beloved Country is a novel with remarkable lyricism written by Alan Paton. Born as a white South African, Alan Paton grew up during a time period marked by racial inequality and later became an activist against apartheid. He was a devout Christian so many of his writings reflect Christian faith. As an activist, he wrote many books about South Africa and racial injustice. While traveling around Europe, he began writing Cry, the Beloved Country, which was published in 1948. That same year the national party implemented apartheid, a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race (“apartheid”). Cry, the Beloved Country takes place during the historical period of growing tension that led to the political policy of apartheid. In the beginning of the book, Paton depicts the effects of racial segregation by showing economic inequality such as lack of land and resources causing people to move to urban areas. This novel brought worldwide attention to the increasingly segregated society of South Africa during the mid 1940s.

Set in South Africa right before apartheid, part one of the novel opens with Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo, planning to travel to Johannesburg in search of his sister and brother, as well as his missing son Absalom. In Johannesburg, Stephen is robbed and finds that his sister has become a prostitute. With the help of his new friend, Msimangu, he locates his brother John, a politician who fights against racial inequality in South Africa,

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