Africa: Cry The Beloved Country Essay

1791 words - 7 pages

FCA's:-Completely summarize plot-Discusses at least 2 themes-Uses at least three quotes from the bookThe book "Cry, the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton is a book about agitation and turmoil between both whites and blacks over the white segregation policy called apartheid. The book describes how the understanding between whites and blacks can end mutual fear and aggression; and bringing reform and hope to a small community of Ndotcheni as well as to South Africa as a whole.The language of the book reflects the Bible; furthermore several characters and episodes are reminiscent of stories from the Old Testament and teachings of Christ. Thus, Alan Paton, as a reformer and the author of "Cry, the Beloved Country," gives the people of South Africa a new, "modern Bible," where he, like Christ teaches to "love thy brother as yourself." He does this to help whites and blacks overcome the fear and misunderstanding of each other. The language of the book from the very beginning reveals its biblical nature. "The great valley of Umzimkulu is still in darkness, but the light will come there. Ndotscheni is still in darkness, but the light will come there also." The style includes symbols such as light and darkness, short clauses connected by "and" or "but", and repetition. This style is used to represent speech or thoughts "translated" from Zulu. Jesus Christ is symbolized by the figure of Arthur Jarvis. He is a white reformer who fights for rights of blacks. Like Christ, he is very altruistic and wants to pursue his aims at all costs. His friend, Harrison, says: "Here [Arthur Jarvis] was, day to day, on a kind of mission." (173) Arthur Jarvis and his wife Mary agree that speaking the truth is vital than money. Arthur Jarvis is killed in his house by Absalom, a black youth who gets entangled in crime. Absalom only intends to rob Arthur Jarvis' home thinking no one but the servant was there. The homicide is unintentional. Absalom thinks that Arthur Jarvis is out and comes into the house with two friends. Arthur Jarvis came down the stairs when he heard the noise. Startled and afraid Absalom fires blindly. Absalom later says in court: "Then a white man came into the passage... I was frightened. I fired the revolver." (194)Absalom's blind fear is symbolic of the fear, blindness, and misunderstanding between whites and blacks; these are the reasons of racial hatred. In his room, there are pictures Christ and Lincoln the two men who fought for human love and compassion and were killed because of their beliefs. Arthur Jarvis can be identified with Jesus Christ. Jesus taught "love thy neighbor as thyself." Roman priests didn't understand him, but they felt his power and were afraid of him. Even though Christ taught compassion, they claimed he would incite a riot and crucified him. Like Christ, Arthur Jarvis teaches compassion and love between neighbors - whites and blacks, separated by the policy of apartheid. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ leads to redemption,...

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