Essay on Racism Exposed in Cry, the Beloved Country

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Racism Exposed in Cry, the Beloved Country

The purpose of Cry, the Beloved Country, is to awaken the population of

South Africa to the racism that is slowly disintegrating the society and its

people. Alan Paton designs his work to express his views on the injustices and

racial hatred that plague South Africa, in an attempt to bring about change and

understanding. The characters that he incorporates within his story, help to

establish a sense of the conditions and hardships that the country is

experiencing, and the presence of fear through the whole of the populace.

Presenting the characters as having one-sided personalities or by referring to

them by a simple label, Paton indicates that
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The contrast that Paton creates here is

the fact that not all blacks think with the same purpose, a common

characteristic of stereotypes, which Paton feels the people should rise above.

He seeks to imply that judgement of a person should be based more on the content

of character, rather than the general assumptions of a society. This is a

requirement in his plan to restore a land that is slowly falling apart.

The next character that is introduced is Kumalo's sister, Gertrude. As

soon as she sees her brother, she becomes engulfed by fear. She proclaims she

wishes to return to Ndotsheni, but feels unworthy because of what she has become.

She agrees to go back to her homeland, but in the end, abandons Kumalo and her

child. Kumalo's brother, John, is the next of his family to be confronted.

"[John] is corrupt and deceitful, and betrays his brother and nephew at the

first opportunity" (Hogan, 206). Msimangu, though, feels that if John were not

corrupt, he would not solve problems, but "plunge this country into bloodshed"

(Paton, 187). As a charismatic speaker, John has the ability to raise the

blacks against the whites, but is too frightened to, fearing the possible

retaliation of the whites. Paton's description of these characters, denote

their immoral natures and the fear that exists within their lives, which he

feels may be due to their corrupt surroundings and the
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