Cry, the Beloved Country: Theme Analysis

Cry, the Beloved Country: Style Analysis

Social Breakdown and Racial Injustice

The society illustrated in Cry, the Beloved Nation, is an unjustified one, divided on racial lines. The white individuals, comprised of Afrikaner and English-speakers, have actually taken the most profitable farmland from the blacks. Blacks are therefore forced to leave their tribal villages, where there is no work, and go to the city.

In cities like Johannesburg, white companies depend greatly on black labor, for which they pay bit. Social breakdown follows, because the blacks have actually been removed from the standard social structures that lent stability to their lives.

This would consist of such things as observation of laws and custom-mades, and respect for senior citizens. Left rudderless, working for subsistence incomes, and enduring bad living conditions, it is not unexpected that criminal activity rates among blacks are on the rise.

Msimangu explains this scenario to Kumalo. He states that the white guy has “broken the people.” He believes this is why the youths break the law, and he includes, of the white male, “But it has actually not fit him to develop something in the location of what is broken” (chapter 5).
Arthur Jarvis reaches exactly the very same conclusion.

He wrote in among his manuscripts, “The old tribal system was … a moral system. Our natives today produce wrongdoers and woman of the streets and drunkards not due to the fact that it is their nature to do so, but since their simple system of order and tradition and convention has been damaged. It was damaged by the impact of our own civilisation. Our civilisation has for that reason an inescapable task to set up another system of order and tradition and convention” (Chapter 20).

This is the disaster that has actually afflicted the country: the exploitation of blacks by whites and the consequent loss of a whole lifestyle.
This social breakdown is highlighted in the fates of Gertrude Kumalo and Absalom Kumalo. Gertrude went to Johannesburg to search for her spouse, who had been recruited to operate in the mines, but had actually never come back even after his time there was over.

This is a frequent experience of the family members of those who go to Johannesburg. Their relative go to the huge city but they never return, and they do not compose. It is as if whole families have actually been lost, drawn into the anonymous life of the city.


“It is fear that guidelines this land,” say Msimangu (chapter 5), and worry is a recurring theme in the novel. It afflicts Kumalo, for instance, as quickly as he goes to Johannesburg and begins searching for his child. He fears what he might discover about the way his child has been living. “Here in my heart there is nothing however worry. Worry, fear, fear,” he says when he hears that a white man has been eliminated (chapter 11). He fears that Absalom might be the culprit.

But the fear in South Africa impacts more than specific individuals. It is everywhere. It appears to pervade the entire environment. The white neighborhood lives in worry since of rising black criminal offense, which the whites do not understand and do not know how to stop. The whites are likewise afraid to look truthfully at the oppression that turns black people to criminal offense, since this would include them in a re-examination of their a lot of basic beliefs about race and society, and this they will not do.

So the worry goes on. The whites fear a black miners’ strike due to the fact that the entire economy of the nation depends upon the mines. Knowing they remain in a minority, surpassed often times by the blacks, the whites are horrified that a miners’ strike may infect include all industries, and they summon a horrible picture of what may occur if that must take place.

The last lines of the unique once again highlight fear, as the narrator looks forward to a time in the future when South Africa will be emancipated “from the fear of chains and the chains of worry.”

Reconciliation and Hope

Although Cry, the Beloved Country is a novel that records extreme social injustice and often reveals a sense of hopelessness about the depth of the problem, it also imagines the possibility of reconciliation between the races and the rebuilding of black neighborhoods.

Even within the darker areas of the novel, there are generally some intense spots in which people exhibit human compassion to one another, no matter race. An example is the white guy who heads out of his way to offer trips to the black individuals who are strolling because of the bus boycott. Another example is the whites who work at Ezenzeleni, helping blind black people. A third example is the young white guy who works at the reformatory to which Absalom is sent. He tries whatever he knows to set Absalom on a more productive course in life.

The significant example is of course James Jarvis. The truth that Jarvis, who had actually never ever shown any interest in assisting Ndotsheni, even though his farm overlooks the impoverished valley, can undergo a change of mind is an indication that such things are possible. The wish for the future depend on the reality that the races can cooperation, if people choose to conquer the incorrect barriers that have been set up in between them.

The novel recommends that societal change will only come when there is a modification within guys’ hearts, however it holds out the hope that such modification can and will take place.

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