Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

778 WordsJun 16, 20184 Pages
“Africa” is not even an African word. There is no certainty as to where it originated from but it could be connected with the Latin word aprica, meaning “sunny,” or the Greek word aphrike, meaning “not cold.” It seems more likely that it came from the Greek word; “aphrike” is the combination of “phrike” (cold and horror) with an “a” placed in front to give it the opposite meaning. Therefore, it means a land free of cold and horror. It’s such an ironic name for a country where people are living their lives with hunger and fear. The conditions in South Africa during mid-1900 were even worse than they are today. Alan Paton addresses these issues in his novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, published in 1948. Paton uses two contrasting…show more content…
They value the ownership of land and things more than the beauty of the land and the need to care for one another. These places are symbolized by Stephen and John Kumalo. The urban society is like John Kumalo, the corrupt brother. He left Ndotsheni years ago and never contacted his relatives. John is a successful businessman in Johannesburg where he is better off financially than his fellow natives. He is working for native rights, but he wasn’t actually working to benefit his people. Instead, he lets power consume him, while turning his back on his religious views and claiming that the Church is powerless in this land. Although both of them grew up in the same circumstances, Stephen Kumalo is the opposite of John. Stephen is the reverend at Ndotsheni, a man of God. He represents the good aspects of rural society. He is not self-servile like John and he leads a righteous life by dedicating himself in reuniting the families and the nation as a whole. Paton shows that these two concepts could be brought together to solve the problems of South Africa. The interaction between the cities and villages are almost nonexistent and the problems of each are foreign to the other. They need to unite and care about each other, just like the whites and natives. The problem is that “it is fear that rules the land” (Msimangu). The whites and natives are afraid of each other, which also
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