Human Race - Race of Human? Essay about the various aspects of "Cry, The Beloved Country" by Alan Paton

Essay by jji2004High School, 10th gradeA, January 2003

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Human Race - Race of Human?

Whose fault is it when people are murderers when they have no other option? Is it the nature of the murderer or is the person shaped to be a murderer by society? Either of these two circumstances, it is the society that creates these unfortunate murderers. The native people of South Africa are the victims of this kind of biased society. Alan Paton's 1948 novel, Cry, the Beloved Country addresses these problems of South Africa as well as their consequences. The urbanization of the South African society breaks the cherished faith between father and son, Christians and God, and the people and the land.

The faith and bonding between father and son is weakened by the attraction of Johannesburg. As for Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis, they are both from Ndotsheni, and both share the prospect of their own traditional ways. Their sons, however, live in Johannesburg because of the city's wide range of opportunities; Absalom will be able to acquire more money, and Arthur Jarvis will be able to help a wider range of people.

When Stephen Kumalo receives the letter regarding his sister, his wife wants him to take their only pounds to Johannesburg. Stephen Kumalo feels that he is obligated to not use the money; he says "How can I use it? This money was to send Absalom to St. Chad's." (p.38) This quote shows that Stephen Kumalo still expects Absalom to grow up to his standards although not having heard from Absalom for years since he left for Johannesburg. Because of young people's affinity for Johannesburg's various opportunities, Absalom abandoned his homeland in pursuit of a new life, to acquire more money. In Absalom's new life, he must commit crime to be able to survive. In the robbery of Arthur...