Apartheids Role In Cry The Beloved Country
In the novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, written by Alan Paton, apartheid plays a significant role throughout, as it encourages those who struggle with inequality to take a stand for themselves and try to change the way their lives are determined by others. Apartheid has been a problem for South Africa since the earlier nineteen hundreds because of the unjust society and heartbreaking rule of "white man's law over a black man's country," (Cry, the Beloved Country.) Some positive results come from the fight of those who are treated unfair, but none that are large enough to turn around the system of discrimination. Two families are affected greatly in this book; one is that of the white James Jarvis, and the other of the black Stephen Kumalo.
Both of these families find themselves in time of desperation and tragedy because of the wrongdoings that have occurred within their relations, creating each protagonist to step up for what is right.The origin of apartheid comes from South Africa during the unsteady times of cruelty and pitiless actions towards those of a different race than the white race. This legal racial severance controlled the Republic of South Africa for more than fifty years until the early 1990's when Nelson Mandela was the first black president to be elected for Africa. The separation of various races throughout the nation state was not only adequate, but more importantly ingrained legally. The way of life during this time gave the white inhabitants more power politically and socially, as well as better selections of houses, jobs, and education.
The nonwhites were kicked out of their previous homes and forces to live in rural areas that were separated from the rest of the community. Being involved in the government was not an option for colored citizens, as they could only live helplessly under the rule of white leaders. The only way for black Southerners to travel out of their homelands was to carry a pass and follow strict rules that were enforced only upon them.
The living arrangements that was set up for the powerless black society were on land that was unusable and inhuman, which often alienated family members from one another. Around the year 1991 the apartheid system began to crumble as it could not regulate the lives of the colored race any longer. Just two years later the official policy of South Africa involving excessive amounts of discriminations toward people of different race was eliminated completely. The 1948 novel Cry, the Beloved Country, demonstrates the reality of how life was in South Africa during the 1940's for humans of both white and nonwhite.Stephen Kumalo, the protagonist of color, is a humble man that encompasses clear conscience that easily understands the difference between right and wrong.
With a genuine faith in God, Kumalo is the pastor of his village's church where he cares deeply for the people who attend. He is man of good morals that acknowledges the suffering he is dealt during this time of despair by yearning to help the others who are treated as he. At the beginning of the novel, Stephen takes on a journey to Johannesburg, a city that is very large when compared to his homeland in Ixopo. The separation of the Kumalo family can be solely blamed on apartheid, as runaways from the villages were common because of the hard lifestyle that they involve.
Apartheid also sets in throughout the journey as Stephen Kumalo feels uncomfortable in the different setting. The destination of Johannesburg is expected to be the place that uncovers the missing Absalom, Kumalo's son, a young adult that has unexpectedly been living a shocking life of crime. Stephen is physically unwell during his journey as his old age starts to set in, and he is often cheerless as he loses all hope of finding Absalom successfully.
Also, the discovery of his sister Gertrude, to some extent, depresses his mind as she has turned to a life of prostitution and alcohol. Once Stephen convinces his sister that she has Christian responsibilities to take care of along with her son, he gets her to agree on coming back to their homeland. Once Absalom was identified as the murderer of Arthur Jarvis, Kumalo and the neighboring father of Arthur, James Jarvis, found out about the adversity.
Discrimination and unfair treatment of those that are different was a very likely cause of incident involving both sons of James and Stephen. During this time period, Absalom would be unable to hold a high-quality job, leading him to create such havoc among innocent people such a Arthur, a white engineer who fought courageously for the rights of colored natives. As a result of Absalom's offense came the death penalty, which shook Kumalo mentally, as his faith in God plummeted. Before his journey back home, Gertrude was no where to be found as she ran away before returning to Ndotsheni, which was just another setback in his life that seemed to be falling apart. All the chaos that was coming about in the main character's existence emerged from the way of life that was taking place, making apartheid the evident source.
Kumalo changed from the beginning to the end of the novel as he faced times of intense hardship that guided him to feel emotions of distress. Apartheid played a momentous part of Stephen Kumalo's life while it affected him in a negative manner. The unavoidable routine of life that blacks struggled against in South Africa for many years hurt the central character and his relatives immeasurably.The second protagonist is a man of white skin and a landowner whose plantation is near Ndotsheni, his name is James Jarvis.
At the beginning of the book he could be described as one to have characteristics opposite those of Mr. Kumalo. Before the changes that James undergoes, his personality is fairly dull while he does not speak much. Although he is white, James is not exceptionally cruel to the populace of different races, and he is stricken with both positive and negative effects from the uneasy lifestyle that is given to most in the 1940's.
The upsetting news that James receives about the death of his distant son is the foremost event that changed the way he saw the world and felt towards people of color. After reading the essays that Arthur Jarvis had written, Jams began to know his son better and learn about what he believed about people and of color compared to others like him. Without the role of apartheid in this novel, James Jarvis' son would not impact the story quite the same as he does, and his job as a stern advocate for black South Africans would be nonexistent.
The writings that Arthur generated influenced his father the take up the job in fighting against the unreasonable treatment and racial prejudice directed to the feeble nonwhites. The family of James Jarvis was just another group of people during the hard times of South Africa to be affected greatly by apartheid.In the novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, written by Alan Paton and published during the time of predicament caused by extreme practice of political, legal, and economic discrimination toward blacks, troubles based on the true history of Africa are discussed. Apartheid no longer exists, but some forms of discrimination still roam the world today.
Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis are just two men who were altered by the unimaginable lifestyle that thousands faced in the Republic of South Africa.
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