Everything you ever wanted to know about Reverend Stephen Kumalo in Cry, the As a preacher, Kumalo is too moral to fall for the temptations of the city the way Gertrude and Absalom do. Still, there is a purpose to Kumalo's innocence. for all of the explanations that a first episode or couple of episodes requires. Further, the literatures of various cultures are considered for the purpose of .. A. Compare/contrast the parallel relationships of Stephen/Absalom Kumalo and. The protagonist, Kumalo, a Zulu priest, and Absalom, his young son, are going through a trying time in their relationship. Kumalo is disappointed and hurt when .
How do the world of Johannesburg and the world of Ndotsheni differ? Does one place seem to be more just than the other? Does one place seem more likely to produce a just South Africa?
Kumalo is an elderly Zulu priest who has spent all of his life in the village of Ndotsheni. He is a quiet, humble, and gentle man with a strong moral sense and an abiding faith in God.
He is not perfect, however, and occasionally gives in to the temptation to hurt others with harsh words or lies. The dignity and grace with which he accepts his suffering, however, along with his determination to help his people in spite of his limitations, make him the moral center of the novel.
When he first appears in the novel, Jarvis is a relatively conservative farmer and a man of few words. But the tragic news that his only son, Arthur, has been murdered leads him to Johannesburg, where he begins to rethink his opinions and his relationship to the villagers that live below his farm.
A tall, young minister at the Mission House in Sophiatown, Msimangu has an acute understanding of the problems that face South Africa. He sometimes speaks unkindly, but he quickly repents.
Cry, the Beloved Country - Wikipedia
His eventual decision to enter a monastery is a final testament to the depth of his faith and generosity. After fleeing home for Johannesburg, Absalom quickly goes astray, but even after he commits murder, he is able to reclaim his fundamental decency. His decision to move to Johannesburg is part of a larger trend of young black people fleeing their villages for the cities.
Seeming to lack a reliable moral compass, he is influenced by bad companions and begins a criminal career.
Formerly a humble carpenter and a practicing Christian, John Kumalo becomes a successful businessman and one of the three most powerful black politicians in Johannesburg. He has a beautiful and powerful voice, which he uses to speak out for the rights of black South Africans, but his fear of punishment prevents him from pushing for actual radical change, and he is considered by many to be without courage. An engineer and fierce advocate for justice for black South Africans, he is shot dead in his home by Absalom Kumalo.
Kumalo and her husband make household decisions as equals, and she bears hardship gracefully. When Kumalo is inclined to brood, she rouses him to action, and it is she who supplies the courage needed to read the bad news that the mail brings from Johannesburg. Gertrude, twenty-five years younger than Kumalo and living in Johannesburg, is easily influenced.
When Kumalo reminds her of her Christian duties and obligations, she attempts to return to them, but she lacks real determination. He brings comfort to Kumalo during his troubles. Lithebe - The woman with whom Kumalo stays in Johannesburg. Lithebe is an Msutu woman who lives in Sophiatown and takes in boarders, especially priests.
She is a good and generous Christian who believes that helping others is simply her duty. The young man - A young white man who works at the reformatory and attempts to reform Absalom. He is warm and understanding, and he possesses deep faith.
She has run away from her dysfunctional family but still seeks a family structure and bonds. She is essentially innocent, obedient, and grateful for adult protection. The morning of his departure, Kumalo rouses his new family to bring them back to Ndotsheni, only to find that Gertrude has disappeared.
Kumalo is now deeply aware of how his people have lost the tribal structure that once held them together, and returns to his village troubled by the situation. It turns out that James Jarvis has been having similar thoughts. Arthur Jarvis's young son befriends Kumalo.
As the young boy and the old man become acquainted, James Jarvis becomes increasingly involved with helping the struggling village. He donates milk at first and then makes plans for a dam and hires an agricultural expert to demonstrate newer, less devastating farming techniques.
Just as the bishop is on the verge of transferring Kumalo, Jarvis sends a note of thanks for the wreath and offers to build the congregation a new church, and Kumalo is permitted to stay in his parish. On the evening before his son's execution, Kumalo goes into the mountains to await the appointed time in solitude.
On the way, he encounters Jarvis, and the two men speak of the village, of lost sons, and of Jarvis's bright young grandson, whose innocence and honesty have impressed both men. Characters[ edit ] Stephen Kumalo: A year-old Zulu priest who attempts to find his family in Johannesburgand later to reconstruct the disintegrating tribe in his village.
A priest from Johannesburg who helps Kumalo find his son Absalom. Stephen's brother, who denies the tribal validity and becomes a spokesman for the new racial movement in the city; a former carpenter. Stephen's son who left home to look for Stephen's sister Gertrude, and who murders Arthur Jarvis. The young sister of Stephen who becomes a prostitute in Johannesburg and leads a dissolute life.
A wealthy landowner whose son, Arthur, is murdered. He comes to the realization of the guilt of white residents in such crimes and forgives the Kumalos. Murdered by Absalom Kumalo, he is the son of James Jarvis.
He does not appear in the novel, but his liberal racial views are highly significant and influential. A big man who was the "heart" of anything and everything Arthur Jarvis did, including wanting peace between the races. Absalom's lawyer; he takes his case pro deo for God in this case meaning for free. A priest from England who helps Stephen in his troubles. A native housewife in whose house Stephen stays while in Johannesburg.
A father and son who represent two opposing views concerning the racial problem. The father, who is Arthur's father-in-law, represents the traditional view, while the son represents the more liberal view. The Girl [Absalom's wife]: A teenage girl, approximately 16 years old, impregnated by Absalom, whom she later marries. She tells Kumalo that Absalom will be her third husband and that her father had abandoned her family when she was quite young.
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Given her young age it is unclear if any of these marriages were wholly consensual. Main themes[ edit ] Cry, the Beloved Country is a social protest against the structures of the society that would later give rise to apartheid.
Paton attempts to create an unbiased and objective view of the dichotomies it entails: It shows many of the problems with South Africa such as the degrading of the land reserved for the natives, which is sometimes considered to be the main theme, the disintegration of the tribal community, native crime, and the flight to urban areas.
Another prevalent theme in Cry, the Beloved Country is the detrimental effects of fear on the characters and society of South Africa as indicated in the following quotation from the narrator in Chapter Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear.
Let him not love the earth too deeply.
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Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.
Paton makes frequent use of literary and linguistic devices such as microcosmsintercalary chapters and dashes instead of quotation marks for dialogue to indicate the start of speech acts to portray the devastating conditions in South Africa.
The most evident are the names Paton gives to the characters.