Biblical Allusion In Cry, The Beloved Country, By Alan Paton

1096 words - 4 pages

The use of Biblical allusions and references is evident in Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country. Against the backdrop of South Africa's racial and cultural problems, massive enforced segregation, similarly enforced economic inequality, Alan Paton uses these references as way to preserve his faith for the struggling country. By incorporating Biblical references into his novel, one can see that Alan Paton is a religious man and feels that faith will give hope to his beloved country. Throughout the entire novel, Alan Paton continuously uses references to the bible and while some are not very apparent, most of them are considerable evident. Four apparent references that he uses are seen in Stephen Kumalo's character, Absalom's decisions to name his unborn child Peter, Stephen Kumalo questioning the ways of God, and Stephen finding his son.
     At the start of the novel, Alan Paton introduces Stephen Kumalo, a native priest in the small village of Ndotsheni. The reader soon learns that he is the protagonist of the novel. He is a modest and good man, and has a deep reverence for the old customs, and he hates no one, even the white men who have oppressed his people. But as the novel progresses, he becomes more sensitive to racial injustice. When Stephen returns to Nodotsheni towards the end of the novel, things begin to change and improve for his people. Stephen is somewhat responsible indirectly for this change. His relationship with James Jarvis, and his conversations with the small white boy brought his town milk and better agriculture among other things. In the Bible, Stephen was chosen among six others to help restore a complaint towards a group of Jews, who neglected to give a daily distribution of food to their widows. "Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people" (Acts 6-8). In both instances, Stephen was seen as a man full of spirit and wisdom. In addition, they both resolved a predicament among their people.
     The good spirit and wisdom that were in Stephen were apparently not passed down to his son, Absalom. Absalom left his family and his town of Ndotsheni in order to move out and live in Johannesburg. Unfortunately, this was not in his best interest. Absalom began to affiliate himself with the wrong crowd. He led a life of robbery and petty crime, and ultimately murder Arthur Jarvis when caught breaking into his house. He was prosecuted and sentenced to be hanged. In his last conversation with his father, he makes a request to name his unborn child Peter if it was born a boy. In the Bible, Peter was an apostle of Jesus Christ. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," (I Peter 3). Absalom knows that his time on earth is ending, and he feels that his unborn child is...

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