James Jarvis & Stephen Kumalo Relationship in Cry, The Beloved Country | ommag.info
Kumalo and Jarvis are both at the trial for Absalom who is being convicted of killing Arthur Jarvis. It is Kumalo who first recognizes a familiar. Book III is told from the point of view of both Kumalo and Jarvis, who have returned The fathers meet in a very dramatic moment and both sense the genuine .. and the newspapers are not so logical or sober as the writings of Arthur Jarvis. Mrs. Smith returns and curtly informs Kumalo, through Jarvis, that the girl he seeks was Jarvis and John Harrison, who have also been at the meeting, leave for.
These passes said where the individual could go. Generally, the system of apartheid aimed to keep the nonwhite people living under South African rule a disciplined pool of workers.
Thus they did not tolerate dissent or organization into labor unions or political parties. They did so by imprisoning men like Nelson Mandela and Steven Biko for crimes against the state.
Recently, Nelson Mandela was released from prison, resumed his political place as head of the African National Congressand was elected President of South Africa. Inhe signed a new constitution for the Republic of South Africa. Winning the national election, the National Party institutes a system of apartheid, officially segregating the black majority from the white minority.
Nelson Mandela, having served twenty-seven years in prison, is sworn in as the President of South Africa in In he signs the new Constitution which, among other things, guarantees equal treat ment before the law for all citizens—black or white. Those in opposition to Apartheid policies take hope in a brighter future by singing Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika.
The British Empire is crumbling as former colonies declare independence. The Soviet Union has collapsed and its republics have declared independence. Critical Overview The critical reputation of Cry, the Beloved Country in the international community has been overwhelmingly positive. Alan Paton's novel, both written and submitted to publishers while on a tour, received much praise the moment it was released.
It sold out on its first day of appearance and entered its sixth print run by the end of the year. Back home in South Africa, however, the newly independent Paton was not so warmly embraced.
The novel was critical of the new regime and Afrikaners because of their narrow vision and fear-ridden pride. Conversely, black South Africans could never forgive Paton for being a white and could never see the book as anything but a parable written by a white man—sympathetic though he was.
The most positive reviewer from this camp was Dennis Brutusa poet who was a prison inmate with Nelson Mandela. Brutus attributed a new sort of writing in South Africa to Paton and his novel. Paton, said Brutus, set in motion a writing that viewed apartheid critically in such a way as to move people and awaken them to our blight of inhumanity.
Unfortunately, Brutus's valuation was retrospective as well as a minority opinion. Martin Tucker, in his book Africa in Modern Literature, said that few writers were indebted to Paton. Though the first print run was small, the critics picked up the novel and sounded its triumph.
They applauded the new sense of lyricism which Paton had brought English literature by the adoption of the Zulu and Xosa syntax.
They praised the breadth of the subject matter yet simple style of the book. While still positive, there were those critics who seemed to miss the point of the novel. One example was Harold C. Gardiner's review in which he says, "the story is preeminently one of individuals. There are no sweeping and grandiose statements about 'the race problem. InSheridan Baker wrote an interpretive article which found that the geography of Paton's story was not only symbolic but that it was the same type of Christian allegory to be found in Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress and Dante's Divine Comedy.
This would not have been so bad, says Edward Callahan in his book, but Baker used his idea about Paton's work in an educational packet wherein children were instructed by Baker to make ludicrous associations in the novel.
Fortunately, the article by Harry A. Gailey entitled "Sheridan Baker's 'Paton's Beloved Country,'" in which Gailey says that the interpretation of Baker is textually baseless, is also included in the anthology of Baker.
A more rational approach to the novel was close by. Edmund Fuller wrote glowingly of the novel in his Man in Modern Fiction. There he wrote that Cry, the Beloved Country "is a great and dramatic novel because Alan Paton, in addition to his skill of workmanship sees with clear eyes both good and evil, differentiates them, pitches them in conflict with each other, and takes sides.
Most criticism of the book simply sides with Paton due to the political tension of the work. In fact, there is little variation amongst the reviewers when it comes to what it is in the novel which deserves praise.
Mostly, it was felt that the quasi-Biblical language of the novel was an emotional catalyst that helped to place the reader on the side of the Kumalos and only secondarily with the Jarvis family. Another review by Myron Matlaw in Arcadia simply sums up the critical view of Paton: A Novel of South Africa, the view is taken that the book is a classic because of its endurance.
After forty years and two movies, Paton's novel is still widely read. He also cites the work as having a universal appeal because of its poetic language and its theme of human responsibility. The setting for the novel, adds Callan, has changed incredibly in that span of time but he makes no prediction about how this will affect the reception of the work. Criticism Sharon Cumberland In the following essay, Cumberland, an assistant professor at Seattle University, asserts that although Cry, the Beloved Country was written by a white man, it successfully and artistically presents in human terms the plight of native African people suffering under apartheid.
Cry, the Beloved Country made a tremendous impact on the international community when it was first published in by showing, in human terms, the effects of apartheid on its victims.
Once known as Boers, these Afrikaaners instituted a system of rigid segregation between the black tribal people and the white settlers.
White supremacy allowed the Afrikaaners and white people of other nationalities to become wealthy on the natural resources in South Africa, using tribal people for cheap labor. The evil consequences of the apartheid system in South Africa were widely understood as political phenomena in Yet Alan Paton evoked the dilemma of tribal people so movingly that no one who read his novel could fail to understand from an emotional point of view the terrible injustices built into the legal system—a system which held sway in South Africa until Though Cry, the Beloved Country stands alone as a compelling plot with memorable characters, it is a book which needs to be placed in historical context to achieve its full impact.
What Do I Read Next? First published inDays: She was the wife of Joe Slovo, leader of the Communist Party in South Africa, and one of the first to be imprisoned during the crackdown of the s. After her release, she continued to oppose the government until a letter bomb killed her in Her story of imprisonment is the story of a white South African who opposed apartheid.
Later made into a film by the same title, this work tells the true story of Donald Wood, a concerned white journalist, who is trying to interview Steven Biko. Unfortunately, Biko is imprisoned by the government and dies while in jail. Lately, amidst amnesty hearings in South Africa, it has been revealed that he was killed by the guards just as human rights defenders had always claimed. Although Nelson Mandela signed a new constitution into existence in South Africa, Albie Sachs's writings on the issues of such an undertaking are still worth reading.
His Protecting Human Rights In a New South Africa, printed inis interesting because he explains the legal and social complexities inherent in the writing of a constitution which will safeguard all of South Africa's people.
Information on Apartheid housing policies can be gained from Homes Apart: South Africa's Segregated Cities, published in Editor Anthony Lemon details the way in which, "South African cities were established by white settlers, who regarded the cities as their cultural domain. Durning, released by the World Watch Institute. This work details the environmental policy of the National Party since its victory in A good feel for daily life in apartheid Africa, can be gained from the play Woza Albert!
This play by Percy Mtwa, Mbongeni Ngema, and Barney Simon depicts the average experiences in South Africa from riding the train to working for white bosses. Afrikaner Pieter van Vlaanderen violates the Immorality Act by having an affair with a black woman, is sent to jail, and shunned by his family. Too Late the Phalarope demonstrates to readers how the South African system of apartheid degrades all citizens. Alan Paton was a white man of English descent, raised in Natal, a region of South Africa which is the "beloved country" of the title.
South Africa as a whole can also be understood to be the "beloved country" for which its natives, both white and black, must "cry," or weep for in sorrow and guilt.Cry, the Beloved Country The Trials of Absalom and Stephen Kumalo
Paton understood that racial injustice, in which the blacks, who made up seventy percent of the country's population, worked to enrich the white Afrikaaners. It was a crime which led all South Africans, and especially the black natives, to disastrous consequences. South Africa's history is the history of European colonialism in Africa. The Dutch East India Company came to the region in and began to displace the Bantu-speaking black Africans who lived there.
Dutch farmers Boers who came from the Netherlands to settle the South African interior engaged in a long series of wars with the Xhosa people. But they were displaced in turn when the British took over the region in When diamonds and gold were discovered in these regions in the s and s, making them more attractive for business than for farming, the British attempted to take over the regions.
This prompted the Boer War The British won the war and established the Union of South Africa in South Africa gained its independence from Britain in When the Boers, now called Afrikaaners, assumed power from England, they imposed the most strict apartheid laws, isolating the black natives in "homelands" which deprived them of their civil rightsas well as their ability to achieve economic and social stability.
When Paton wrote Cry, the Beloved Country, it was not clear how South Africa would solve the increasing injustices between its black and white inhabitants. Paton achieved two purposes in his novel. He depicted these injustices by showing how white commercialism dismantled the tribal customs which had given the black natives their stability, and he proposed an alternative to apartheid that was moral and religious rather than political.
Through the reconciliation of his black protagonist, Stephen Kumalo, with the white land owner, James Jarvis, Paton proposes that natural charity and justice will emerge when members of both races see each other as fully human.
Paton did not merely write novels to propose solutions. He became actively involved in implementing his vision by helping to found the Liberal Party in South Africa in With the worldwide prestige, income, and authority he gained from the success of Cry, the Beloved Country, Paton was able to join with others to fight the increasingly harsh laws that limited Bantu education, access to jobs, freedom of movement, and property rights.
At the same time, however, the African National Congress ANCoriginally formed ininitiated the mass movements against the white regime that led eventually to armed conflict and guerrilla warfare. For forty years the ANC led the fight for black rights, resulting in the National Conference in at which Nelson Mandela was elected president.
Mandela became the leader of the Government of National Unity in South Africa, which seeks to exercise justice for all races. Though Paton's hope for nonviolent change for his "beloved country" died with the failure of the Liberal Party, he is still credited with bringing powerful force to early efforts to organize reform.
Reading Cry, the Beloved Country is like reading a certain type of poetry, in that every word has significance and beauty. It is not a novel to be skimmed or read rapidly, even though it is fairly short. It is a book to be savored for its truthfulness, its carefulness, and its importance.
Cry, the Beloved Country is truly unique because it does not follow in a literary tradition, nor does it launch a tradition. Later South African authors who have gained the world stage, such as Nadine GordimerAthol Fugard, and Andre Brinkhave been writing in an environment of open hostility between blacks and whites after the militarization of the African National Congress.
Since Cry, the Beloved Country predates this period, it stands alone as an appeal for peaceful reconciliation between the races—a stance which the later authors could not realistically take. It also stands alone as a work about suffering and love that is timeless in its relevance to the human condition. Fifty years after its publication, when many of the worst offenses addressed in Cry, the Beloved Country are being solved by the Government of National Unity in South Africa, it is still a work to be read and cherished by new generations.
It is significant that in the novel the symbol of a hopeful future is situated in a white child. Though Paton appropriates the voice of a black minister, Stephen Kumalo, to tell most of his story, Paton himself is white. His lifetime of living among the Zulu gave him the authority to adopt Kumalo's voice accurately in terms of its particular sound and expression. Inbefore the multicultural movement in literary theory, such an appropriation of voice would not be questioned, especially when it is done as well as Paton does it.
Today, however, the critical reader must always be aware that the black voice is subject to the agenda of the white author. For instance, one can speculate that the mind of the white man intrudes into his black characters at certain points when the black characters notice the generosity of white drivers during the bus strike, when they accept the decisions of white authority figures like Father Vincent without question, and when they seek for reconciliation with white characters such as James Jarvis.
When compared to black African authors such as Chinua Achebethe reader can see that Paton wishes to highlight those attributes upon which racial reconciliation can be built rather than simply to paint the terrible destructiveness of racial injustice. Thus, Paton's symbol for the next generation, the white child who reflects his father's respect for the Zulu, is a distinctly white perception of peace. One can speculate that a black writer on the same subject would see the hope of South Africa in a black child, one who might grow up in a country in which Africans had reclaimed their land from white intruders, and who might turn to tribal belief systems for their values rather than the transplanted Christian values which predominate in Paton's novel.
There is no sense of irony in Paton's narration, for instance, that the broken tribes are broken, in part, by the imposition of a non-native religion. The greatest theme of Cry, the Beloved Country is the Christian reconciliation of the races in the face of almost unforgivable sin. How can the black natives ever forgive white people for stealing their country and its resources while destroying their culture?
On the other hand, how can white people ever come to face the enormity of their crimes, especially when the initial crimes were not committed by those who are living now? How can white South Africans not regard the land as their own when they and their ancestors have lived on it since ?
Before a peaceful solution can be found, a race war might break out.
Cry, the Beloved Country | ommag.info
As the character Msimangu says about the white people, "I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving they will find that we are turned to hating. Likewise, it is the memory of his son Arthur that compels James Jarvis to overcome his prejudice and loathing in order to achieve understanding of his radical racial views and to carry on his son's work for racial justice. The breaking of the tribes is a disaster brought on by several forces, including the relentless drought that forced agricultural people into the cities, as well as the exploitation of those people by the white mine owners.
In Book I the reader can see the devastation in every character which is brought about by the breakdown of tribal customs. In Book II it is clear that the white "tribe" has thrived on the destruction of the black tribes, who have provided the white people with their maids, laborers, and mine workers.
Paton suggests that a new tribe must rise out of this cycle of destruction and exploitation: How this respect is to develop is a "secret"—one of the mysteries of life that will only be clear when it manifests itself in leaps of faith and acts of generosity.
As Kumalo tries to come to terms with the execution of his son for the murder of Jarvis' son—a crime which the reader understands to be the product of the breaking of the tribe—he turns away from what appear to be irreconcilable mysteries: When he fears he will lose his faith, Father Vincent tells him not to dwell on injustice: For they are secret. Who knows what life is, for life is a secret. Paton tries to show the progress of such sin and forgiveness in the Jarvis and Kumalo families as a model for the entire nation.
Because the characters are so fully realized, their stories become models of suffering and reconciliation for all times and places. Sharon Cumberland, in an essay for Novels for Students, Gale, Edward Callan In the following excerpt, Callan examines the variety of literary styles Paton employs in Cry, the Beloved Country, and provides a plot summary.
It would be difficult to imagine a landscape or a point on the earth's surface so different in every way from South Africa as Trondheim, Norway. Yet it may have been fortunate for the artist in Alan Paton that Trondheim was the place where he undertook to compose Cry, the Beloved Country. This was not because of any direct influence other than that of loneliness and longing for home.
True, he had read John Steinbeck 's The Grapes of Wrath in Stockholm, and his sidetrip to Norway was prompted by a wish to visit the countryside depicted in Knut Hamsun 's grimly realistic novel Growth of the Soil; but he says [in Towards the Mountain ] he did not consciously adapt anything from either work except Steinbeck's "style of rendering conversations, indicating by a preliminary dash that a speech was about to begin, and omitting all inverted commas.
It is essentially this overall point of view that makes Cry, the Beloved Country a unique artistic object: Synge's play Riders to the Sea. Many readers of Cry, the Beloved Country are struck by the simplicity of its language and the rhythmic quality of its prose style.
Some of its rhythms—dependent on parallel phrases and repetitions—evoke translations of the Psalms. Because of this, the style of Cry, the Beloved Country has frequently been described as "biblical. But the novel has a wide variety of styles. The element that may strike readers first as having a flavor of originality is the evocation of the rhythms of Zulu speech that appears, chiefly, in Stephen Kumalo's speech and thought, and in dialogue among African characters.
For an obvious contrast, however, one should look at the style of the elder Harrison in Book Two. Harrison is almost a caricature of the typical colonialist-minded United Party man from Johannesburg's English-speaking commercial community, hidebound by prejudice.
He parrots hackneyed ideas about "the native problem. He is like the "stone age" neighbor in Robert Frost 's "Mending Wall," who cannot go behind his father's saying: One could pursue these instances of characterization through style further: Even though Cry, the Beloved Country is not written in one style and rhythm but in many styles and rhythms, there is, nonetheless, a dominant style associated with the book.
This is the pattern of speech with a marked poetic quality accorded to Kumalo and the African characters generally, and also to some extent employed in the lyric passages voiced from outside the action. This quality, depending to a degree on the sound and syntax of spoken Zulu, can be viewed as a poetic invention designed to carry over into English the effects of the sound and idiom of African speech….
Book One, the Book of Kumalo, is concerned at first with the physical quest of the Reverend Stephen Kumalo, who travels from the African village of Ndotsheni to Johannesburg in search of his sister Gertrude, his son Absalom, and his brother John, who have all "disappeared" in the metropolis.
His guide to these regions of lost people is another Anglican priest, a fellow Zulu of wholly different background, the Reverend Theophilus Msimangu. He guides Kumalo down among the lost people as Virgil guided Dante through the infernal regions, opening his eyes and his understanding to the meaning of enigmatic things. They find Stephen's sister Gertrude, his brother John, and, finally, his son Absalom, only to discover that he is the confessed murderer of Arthur Jarvis.
Book Two is the Book of James Jarvis, father of the murdered man. He sets out from the closed mental world of his own habitual assumptions and prejudices and seeks to understand the liberal spirit revealed to him in his son's reputation and writings. Again, on the analogy of Virgil led by Dante, James Jarvis, "seeking his way out of the fog into which he has been born," is guided by the voice of his dead son who had "journeyed … into strange waters" and set down his philosophy in "A Private Essay on the Evolution of a South African.
In it, the physical and psychological quests of the earlier books turn toward the spiritual path of redemption. This is the region where, after guiding him through the horrors of hell and the mount of purgatory, Virgil left Dante to proceed alone with no guide but love. In Book One, Stephen Kumalo journeys to Johannesburg and experiences manifestations of good and evil in this strange new industrial world.
He is robbed, and he is treated with kindness; he visits places of despair like Claremont where he finds his sister Gertrude, and places of hope like Ezenzeleni where the blind are rehabilitated; he witnesses his brother John's self-seeking corruption and Msimangu's selfless dedication; he becomes aware, too, of conflicting good and evil impulses within himself.
He is a good man seeking lost sheep, yet he lies to his fellow-passengers on the train to protect his self-esteem; and he is cruel to the nameless girl who is to bear Absalom's child, as he is later cruel to his brother John whose cunning has saved his own son at Absalom's expense.
In Book Two the reader observes James Jarvis's deep experience as he returns again and again to the writings on social justice left by his murdered son. These papers argue the case for racial conciliation in South Africa from the Christian and liberal standpoint that Paton shared with Jan Hofmeyr. They open James Jarvis's eyes for the first time to the real plight of both rural and urban Africans—the destruction of their tribal social organization without provision for its replacement by something better: But it is not permissible to watch its destruction, and to replace it by nothing, or by so little, that a whole people degenerates, physically and morally.
He is not equipped to do his son's work, but he does "the next best thing. And he learns to respect the sufferings of the old man whose son had murdered his son. The theme of restoration pervades Book Three on several levels. There is a beginning made on the restoration of the land through the work of a young agricultural demonstrator; there is the restoration of Kumalo's leaky village church through the generosity of James Jarvis; and this, in turn, is a halting step towards the restoration of brotherhood—one human being reaching out toward another across the barriers of fear and prejudice.
The climax of the theme of spiritual restoration is reached when Kumalo, who in Book One neared despair, makes his lone pilgrimage to the mountaintop to share his son's agony on the morning set for his execution.
Book Three, seeking to evoke a Christian sensibility, may be open to the dual danger of uncritical applause from those who share Paton's faith, and to charges of sentimentality from those who do not. Yet Paton does not permit the reader either to applaud Jarvis's "conversion" or to smile tolerantly on it as a matter beyond the limits of practical sociological concern. At this very point in the novel he quite deliberately raises the question: One way is to hope for an ideal, Utopian solution through the intervention of some agent of authority or impersonal force, such as the state, equipped with blueprints and long-range theories.
Another way is, meanwhile, to do "the next best thing" and take those practical steps, however small, that lie within reach. The "good" characters in the novel do not accept evils passively. They act, not only for "humanitarian" reasons, but because as human beings they are involved in mankind, and are in a real sense their brothers' keepers. It is, indeed, a simple personal action—an assumption of the responsibility of priestly brotherhood that opens up the whole Pandora's box: He decides on the unprecedented, if unrewarding, step of seeking an interview with the chief to propose some practical steps to alleviate the suffering caused in Ndotsheni by the drought.
And he does this because "the great city had opened his eyes to something that had been begun and must now be continued. Paton even employs a singsong rhythm—like those who parrot, by rote, things uncomprehended—that mocks the headmaster: He took Kumalo out into the blazing sun, and showed him the school gardens, but this was an academic lecture, for there was no water, and everything was dead.
For it was not only because of the drought that "there was no water, and everything was dead"; but, symbolically, because the schemes and theories themselves were arid. It is only when Jarvis and Kumalo meet humbly as two human beings, each aware of the weight of the other's suffering, and therefore of their common humanity, that the drought breaks and the rain comes at last to the valley of Ndotsheni.
James Jarvis & Stephen Kumalo Relationship in Cry, The Beloved Country
Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country offers no blueprint for a Utopian society. It offers instead recognition of personal responsibility. The crucial development in the characters of both Jarvis and Kumalo is that each comes to recognize how individual fear or indifference infects society with moral paralysis; and that the antidote for this paralysis is individual courage willing to go forward in faith.
They do not wait, therefore, for some miraculous healing of this paralysis to be brought about by the direct intervention of God, or through the implementation of some scheme for a final solution, or through the flowering of the promises of some manifesto. They act by taking whatever steps are possible to them as individuals in the immediate present. A road taken in faith has no certainty of arrival; if it did, faith would be unnecessary.
Cry, the Beloved Country, therefore, rightly concludes with an acceptance of uncertainty: Edward Callan, "Of Faith and Fear: Marcus In the following excerpt, Marcus explores the hopeful and optimistic aspects of Cry, the Beloved Country. We must assess it—not for its sociological content, nor outside its sociological content—as a work of art attempting to recreate experience in a world ordered by the writer. It is a story; it is a prophecy; it is a psalm.
The words prophecy and psalm imply a Biblical quality. Even a relatively unsophisticated reader will sense the Biblical roll of the language, the Old Testament -sounding place names, and the technique of sonorous repetition, in which the plaintive cry of humanity merges with a paean of hope for a brighter tomorrow. The opening sentence of Book I—a sentence repeated in the opening of Book II—combines simplicity and directness with a rhythmic pulse.
If this is the beginning of a love song, a drumming yet tender cadence of geographical loveliness, the tenderness applies even to the unpleasant. The grass which is not kept, or guarded, or cared for—in the valleys where the natives live—"… no longer keeps men, guards men, cares for men.
The titihoya does not cry here any more. The short first chapter closes, "They are valleys of old men and old women, of mothers and children.
The men are away, the young men and the girls are away. So, he asked the parson to check in on her. Jarvis goes inside and gets a boy who works there, but the boy does not know anything about Sibeko's daughter.
Jarvis invites the older man to wait until Barbara gets home so he can ask her. The Visitor's Identity Jarvis still does not understand why the old man is so uncomfortable - what is he afraid of?
At first, the parson hesitates to share why he is frightened, but Jarvis promises that whatever is ''between them,'' he will not be angry with the parson. Finally, the parson admits that ''this thing that is the heaviest thing of all my years, is the heaviest thing of all your years also.
Jarvis is shocked at first. After all, this is quite a coincidence: But he understands now why Kumalo was afraid, since he must have been shocked to see Jarvis. Kumalo remembers seeing Arthur. He says there was a ''brightness in him,'' and expresses that his ''heart holds a deep sorrow'' for Jarvis and the rest of Arthur's family.
We don't go actively looking for a particular person with whom to develop any sort of relationship. Even if we did, it probably wouldn't last since we are essentially forcing the issue. The intent was to rob the home while no one was home, but Arthur surprises Absalom. Frightened, Absalom shoots and kills Arthur. While visiting Johannesburg to care for his sick sister, the Reverend learns of Absalom's crime.
An attorney informs the Reverend that there is a very good chance that Absalom will receive the death sentence. Through this one act, both James and the Reverend lose their only child to an act that should never have happened. This tragic act brings both men together to forge a bond that brings hope to the possibility of change. Grief and Regret The Reverend is grief-stricken, not only for his son, but also for the Jarvis family.
The Reverend visits James at his home. When James answers the door, he sees the Reverend sitting on the bottom step.
Cry, The Beloved Country Chapter 25 Summary
He notices that the Reverend seems unwell, but receives no explanation other than something heavy is upon him. The Reverend slowly reveals that it was his son who killed Arthur. The two men walk a bit in the yard, and the Reverend discloses that he has seen James previously, when he passed by Ndotsheni, the village where the Reverend and his family live.
The two men part amicably, but it may have been a different start to the relationship had James not read his son's papers about the people of South Africa. Shortly after learning of his son's death, James goes to Arthur's house to put his affairs in order.