He was the father of a pre-marital child, he was a thief, and he was a murderer. Upon that, even after he had committed these crimes, Kumalo was disgusted by the fact that Absalom didn't repent for anyone but himself when Kumalo went to visit him. Yet as the novel progresses the audience can see Kumalo's increasing acceptance of his child. The effects of having living in a parson's home are evident in Absalom.
Plot summary[ edit ] In the remote village of Ndotsheni, in the Natal province of eastern South Africathe Reverend Stephen Kumalo receives a letter from a fellow minister summoning him to Johannesburg. He is needed there, the letter says, to help his sister, Gertrude, who the letter says has fallen ill.
Kumalo undertakes the difficult and expensive journey to the city in the hopes of aiding Gertrude and of finding his son, Absalom, who traveled to Johannesburg from Ndotsheni and never returned.
In Johannesburg, Kumalo is warmly welcomed by Msimangu, the priest who sent him the letter, and given comfortable lodging by Mrs. Lithebe, a Christian woman who feels that helping others is her duty. Kumalo visits Gertrude, who is now a prostitute and liquor seller, and persuades her to come back to Ndotsheni with her young son.
A more difficult quest follows, when Kumalo and Msimangu begin searching the labyrinthine metropolis of Johannesburg for Absalom. One clue leads to another, and as Kumalo travels from place to place, he begins to see the gaping racial and economic divisions that are threatening to split his country.
Eventually, Kumalo discovers that his son has spent time in a reformatory and that he has gotten a girl pregnant.
Meanwhile, the newspapers announce that Arthur Jarvis, a prominent white crusader for racial justice, has been murdered in his home by a gang of burglars. With the help of friends, Kumalo obtains a lawyer for Absalom and attempts to understand what his son has become.
Kumalo arranges for Absalom to marry the girl who bears his child, and they bid farewell. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.Cry, The Beloved Country, In , after years of conflict and warfare, the Afrikaner community (the descendants of Dutch traders, livestock farmers and religious refugees from west Europe) and the British established a nation-state called the Union of South Africa.
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Cry, the Beloved Country, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Machado, Carmen. "Cry, the Beloved Country Themes." LitCharts. LitCharts LLC, 5 Aug Web. 11 Sep Machado, Carmen.
"Cry, the Beloved Country Themes. Cry, the Beloved Country ( film) Cry, the Beloved Country is a British drama The ministers confront the harsh reality of apartheid and its inimical effects on both white and black inhabitants.
Cast Edit. (enforced racial separation) laws, Directed by: Zoltán Korda. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Cry, the Beloved Country, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
In Cry, The Beloved Country, the land of South Africa and the original Zulu inhabitants of that land, often called "the tribe," depend upon each other, in a cycle of support and care.
The effects of having living in a parson's home are evident in Absalom. He was so traumatized by the murder that he prayed for repentance, and was almost ready to . Since Cry, the Beloved Country is a novel instead of a report on the effects of racist laws on black communities in South Africa, we start with a story instead of a stack of statistics.
The lack of economic opportunity in Ndotsheni has torn Kumalo's family apart, as one by one, his brother, brother-in-law, sister, and son have all traveled to.