Examining The Theme Of Fear In "Cry The Beloved Country"

1382 words - 6 pages

Discussion of Fear in Cry, the Beloved CountryCry the Beloved Country is a moving and profound work that deals with the social ills of South African society that led up to the institution of apartheid - the national policy of segregation and discrimination on the basis of race. While there are numerous themes that run throughout the work, the theme of fear is probably one of the most compelling. The fear that plagues South African society transcends race; it is felt by both the black and white populations alike. In Cry, the Beloved Country, Paton movingly and intelligently analyzes the black and white fears and the roots of those fears which are destroying the very soul of South Africa during this pre-apartheid era.Patan introduces the general theme of fear indirectly yet very effectively at the beginning of the book. Chapter I opens with two very beautifully written paragraphs describing of the natural beauty of the African landscape surrounding Kumalo's village of Ndotsheni. The reader can almost feel the peace, beauty and fullness of the land. However in the third paragraph, Paton unexpectedly contrasts the picture of the rich and beautiful hills to the barren, wasted and dying valley, "But the rich green hills break down. They fall to the valley below….they grow red and bare…the streams are dry…", and, "The great red hills stand desolate and the earth has torn away like flesh" (34). This abrupt and sharp contrast of the landscape and its being 'torn away like flesh', symbolizes the violence and devastation caused by segregation. It also gives the reader a sense of foreboding that there is much to fear for the land and people of South Africa at this dark point in its history.Throughout the novel, Paton uses the protagonist, Stephen Kumalo, to voice the fears felt by the native black South Africans. There are a number that reoccur in the novel. First is the fear for the survival of the land itself. Next is the fear for survival of the native people who live in a world that is no longer made for them. Lastly is the fear of the white laws which give blacks no justice at all. Fear for the survival South Africa's landscape weighs heavily on Kumalo's mind. The once rich and fertile South African landscape is being physically destroyed by an economic system instituted by the whites for their own gain. Just as Johannesburg grew to support the gold mines and industries, other cities like Odendaalsrust will also rise up in areas where gold is being discovered, eventually devastating the natural beauty of the land, "There was nothing there but the flat rolling veld…nothing but sheep and cattle and native herd boys…a field of maize. There was nothing there that looked like a mine except the drilling machines and patient engineers probing the mysteries of the earth…" The landscape suffers when the mining begins.Along with the devastation of the African landscape is the destruction of the society of an entire race...

Find Another Essay On Examining the Theme of Fear in "Cry the Beloved Country"

Cry the Beloved Country Essay

812 words - 4 pages 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

Cry, The Beloved Country Essay

759 words - 4 pages Beloved Country you read about two very different families and likewise two very different relationships between a father and his son. Deep into the book Stephen Kumalo has discovered that his only son Absalom has committed murder. He visits his son in prison and he admits to killing a white man that he, his cousin, and another man were robbing. After visiting his son in prison, Stephen and his brother John are discussing getting a lawyer. John

Cry the beloved Country

1070 words - 5 pages “The Tragedy is not that things are broken. The tragedy is that they are not mended again.” (1.5.34) Alan Paton wrote Cry the Beloved Country in 1948. During this time South Africa was under Apartheid. The Apartheid was an extreme case of racial discrimination that severely affected South Africa as a country and still continues to affect it to this day. Under the Apartheid African Native peoples were forced to find any sort of work possible that

Racial Morals in Cry, The Beloved Country

2134 words - 9 pages Racial Morals in Cry, The Beloved Country Discrimination against people who are different can be identify in every country around the world. People of every sex, color, religion, and in this case, ethnicity are tormented. In the 1940's, 50's, 60's, and 70's apartheid was an emanate injustice throughout the land of South Africa. Apartheid was the government's rigid policy racial segregation

New Criticism of Cry, the Beloved Country

1010 words - 4 pages New Criticism of Cry, the Beloved Country      Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton can be effectively analyzed using the theory of New Criticism. When beginning to look at the text one must remember not to any attempt to look at the author’s relationship to the work, which is called "intentional fallacy" or make any attempt to look at the reader’s response to the work, which is called the "affective fallacy." First, the central theme of

Deterioration of the Tribal System in Cry, the beloved Country

1707 words - 7 pages Throughout the entirety of the novel one of the main points that Paton stresses very heavily is the fact that the tribal system was and is continuing to do deteriorate from start to finish. While his points of view and his opinions on the crumbling of the system are irrelevant Paton does make a fair point in saying that the tribal system and he shows it in various yet numerous parts in the book. Even from the first chapter of the book when

The White Man's Fear Depicted in Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

859 words - 3 pages emancipation from oppression and fear acts to show both its unpredictable yet unavoidable, and beneficial properties. In conclusion, through the use of a motif and symbolism in chapter 36 or Cry the Beloved Country, Alan Paton is able to relay the message that the Afrikaners’ binds them and until they are able to feel compassion for those they oppress, they will continue to be held in captivity by their minds. The lives of these white men and

Inevitability of Change Revealed in Cry, the Beloved Country

1158 words - 5 pages Inevitability of Change Revealed in Cry, the Beloved Country   Things grow old and die.  Change is inevitable:  a candle will eventually burn out, trees will fall to the ground, and mountains will crumble to the sea.  This inescapable process is clearly illustrated by the character Stephen Kumalo in the book Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton.  The Kumalo seen in the beginning of the book is a completely

Detailed Study of Passage in Cry, the Beloved Country

1044 words - 4 pages Detailed Study #2 Cry, the Beloved Country In this passage, the author details the reactions of parents who receive letters about and from their son who is soon to be executed. This extract contains three sections, all of about the same length. The first paragraph in the excerpt contains only one character, Stephen Kumalo, who has opened one of four letters which he has received and grieves over the news that his son will be hanged. He

Africa: Cry the Beloved Country

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

Cry, the Beloved Country Essay

2052 words - 9 pages In this marvelous novel, Theophilus Msimangu gives us his one hope for his country. Msimangu says, “I see one hope for our country, and that is all white men and black men, desiring neither power or money, but desiring only for the good of their country, come together to work for it.” This is a powerful quote spoken by Msimangu which reflects among his character throughout the book. Msimangu hoped for people living in South Africa to forget

Similar Essays

Fear, Injustice And Family In Cry, The Beloved Country

1710 words - 7 pages Nothing is ever perfect. All systems have their flaws. Sometimes more flaws than any good. That was the way it was in South Africa during the apartheid, people had to break away from the family and their tradition just to get food and a little money. The corrupt government spread ideas of inequality and injustice, forcing people to live in fear of their lives. In his protest novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton uses the interaction of

Cry The Beloved Country Essay

992 words - 4 pages In South Africa there have been many injustices in the past years but the real tragedy is that people realize that these problems are there but has not tried to eliminate them. In Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton the tribe has been broken through the actions of mass amounts of people but when it comes to making the future better only a few individuals step up to the plate. In all parts of South Africa people carry out there daily lives

Cry The Beloved Country Essay

900 words - 4 pages Cry the Beloved Country “Cry for the broken tribe, for the law and the custom is gone. Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end (Paton, 105).” In Cry, the Beloved Country, it is 1946 and the land reserved for blacks in Ndotsheni, a part of South Africa, is drying up. In the novel written by Alan Paton, young men and women begin to leave Ndotsheni for the new city Johannesburg. One of those gone is John Kumalo, a

Cry, The Beloved Country Essay

669 words - 3 pages In the 1940s, South Africa was under the cloud of violence and racism. "Cry, The Beloved Country" gives the reader the perfect perspective on the breakdown in the native tribe, the cause of violence in South Africa and the restoration of South Africa. The Tribal breakdown started when the whites pitilessly pushed the blacks out of their hometown where the land was so rich that it could be even referred as "holy, being even as it