Against the backdrop of South Africa’s racial and cultural problems, Alan Paton uses Biblical references as a way to preserve his faith for the struggling country. By using Biblical references in his novel, one can see that Alan Paton was a religious man who hoped that there would be change in his country. Through Cry, the Beloved Country Paton teaches the idea of love thy brother as yourself, as Christ did, in an attempt to show the importance of ending racial injustice through the characters of Arthur Jarvis, James Jarvis, Stephen Kumalo and Absalom.
Arthur Jarvis an engineer can be seen as the Christ figure. Although he was white, Arthur Jarvis was working as an advocate for the rights of blacks. Like Christ, he wants to pursue all of his goals at whatever the cost. “Here he was, day in and day out, on a kind of mission” (173). Arthur Jarvis writes, “The truth is that our Christian civilization is riddled through and through with dilemma. We believe in the brotherhood of man, but we do not want it in South Africa…” (186). Here Arthur Jarvis is contrasting a Christianity that supports the notion of black people as being inferior with a Christianity belief that rejects white supremacy. There are some Christians who argue that God wants the blacks of South Africa to remain unskilled and trying to educate them would be an un-Christian like action.
However, Arthur Jarvis believes that every person has the right to develop his gifts from God. Also, since the country rejects this idea, Arthur believes that it is not a true Christian State. As a result of his writings, James Jarvis, father of Arthur Jarvis is able to learn about the true problems of South Africa. Most of the white population did not view the blacks as real people and thus were unaware of the issues facing the blacks. This made it easy for whites to oppress blacks. Towards the end of the novel, James Jarvis plays the role of an angel. Because of one man’s understanding and change of heart, many lives are saved and finally, there is a ray of hope, thanks to Jarvis, “an angel of God”(285). He plays an active role in the reform of Ndotcheni. James Jarvis hires an instructor to teach the citizens about agriculture and sends milk for the sick children.
Arthur Jarvis is killed by Absalom a black youth who gets entangled...