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Cry, The Beloved Country By Alan Paton

1301 words - 5 pages

Alan Paton who was a South African author and anti-apartheid activist wrote the novel Cry, the Beloved Country, The novel publication in 1948 was just before South Africa institutionalized racial segregation under Apartheid. Paton addresses the destruction of the tribal system in South Africa due to white colonization by using the novel as a medium to illustrate is damage. Throughout the novel we are exposed to the numerous problems resulting from the colonization. Communities are in collapse, the land is bare, people are starving, and families are broken. These fictional communities and people are based on the real problem Paton saw in South Africa. The concern of “native crime” by the whites is a result of changes in the social conditions. This change is the cause of the destruction of the tribal structure and the break from the traditional way of life. Colonization changes have lead to the problem of blacks leaving their communities to become a part of the whites’. The tribal system is destroyed by the lost of people to a white would, deterioration of morals and the lack of community.
The lost of people to Johannesburg, the representation of the white men’ world is a leading cause of the lost of the tribal system as Stephen Kumalo and the priests discussed at the Mission House in Sophiatown “the sickness of the land, of the broken tribe and the broken house of young men and young girls went away and forgot their customs” (52). Once members of the black community leave to Johannesburg, they don’t return. In chapter two we learn that Stephen Kumalo brother John has gone to Johannesburg to try his luck, his sister Gertrude followed in search for her husband and his own son has left in search for the both of them, but haven’t heard from any of them since. In the same chapter Stephen and his wife debate on using their son’s education fund to cover Stephen trip to Johannesburg and ultimately decided for it based on the reasoning “Absalom will never go now to St. Chad’s”… “He is in Johannesburg. When people go to Johannesburg they do not come back” (38). The truth of this remark is farther strengthen after Stephen’s effort to bring back his brother, sister and son failed.
White colonization has destroyed the tribal system for many by uprooting their moral code. Johannesburg is a world with standard and rules set by the white man. Others must live and act the way whites tell them to such as in the mines and in small reserved where their traditional lifestyle is impossible. If they are not obsequious to these regulations, they are unable to live and get into trouble. Colonization has lead to unproductive grounds. This cause a migration of people into the city in hopes of a decent life, but the city turn these Africans into criminals or immoral individuals such as what happened to Absalom and Gertrude. This point is highlighted with Stephen first experience in Johannesburg, He is tricked by a black man who pretend to help him, emphasizing that the...

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