Cry, the Beloved Country

Important Passages

Passage I

"Kumalo looked at his letter. It was dirty, especially about the stamp. It had been in many hands no doubt. It came from Johannesburg; now there in Johannesburg were many of his own people. His brother John, who was a carpenter, had gone there, and had a business of his own in Sophiatown, Johannesburg. His sister Gertrude, twenty-five years younger than he, and the child of his parents' age had gone there with her small son to look for her husband who had never come back from the mines. His only child Absalom had gone there, to look for his aunt Gertrude, and he never returned. And indeed many other relatives, were there, though none so near as these. It was hard to say from who this letter came, for it was so long since any of these had written, that one did not well remember their writing" (Paton 36).
Explanation: This passage gives the reader a sense of the mystery that surrounds Johannesburg for people not familiar with the area. It shows how as an outsider Kumalo views Johannesburg, and gives a reference to the reader about how people must feel before venturing to Johannesburg. This also reveals Kumalo's loneliness and desire for contact his family his brother, sister, and son have been in Johannesburg for years with no contact, and he is  itching with curiosity and angst about how they are fairing and their condition. This passage represents the difference between the lifestyle in Johannesburg with the lifestyle of those in country. As Kumalo has seen many of his innocent family move to Johannesburg and feel the change in the personality as they have all been to preoccupied to write back.

Passage II

This is "As all trains in South Africa are, it was full of black travelers. On this train indeed there were not many others, for the Europeans of this district all have their cars, and hardly travel by train anymore.         Kumalo climbed into the carriage, for non-Europeans, already full of humble  people of his race, some with strange assortments of European garments, some with blankets over their strange assortments, and some with blankets over their semi-nudity of their primitive dress, though theses were all women. Men no longer traveled in primitive dress." (Paton 43).
Explanation: This excerpt begins to give the  reader a basis what this time period was like, and the racial segregation and discrimination that occurred. The reader understands how the Europeans and the native blacks were treated differently during this time period, and how the different classes were separated. There is also a view on sexual bias as well. A small portion of the excerpt focuses on the fact that although blacks have a worse predicament than Europeans, black males look down on black females, The reader can see this since females still wear primitive dresses while males no longer wear it. This passage also provides some of Kumalo's feelings on the subject. As a wise highly respected man, we can see Kumalo's maturity on the subject, yet through the diction it is clear that he is annoyed and outraged that the Europeans can get away with this kind of behavior. Finally the reader begins to understand a little more about Kumalo. They can interpret that Kumalo is an intelligent, literate man due to his advanced vocabulary and dialogue, yet the mistakes in grammar show us that he is not perfect and although regarded as incredibly wise in the black community he may not be so proudly respected elsewhere.

Passage III

"The truth is that our civilization is not Christian; it is a tragic compound of great ideal and fearful practice, of high assurance and desperate anxiety, of loving charity and fearful clutching of possessions. Allow me a minute. . . ." (Paton 188).
Explanation: This is an excerpt from Arthur Jarvis's article that he was working on when he was killed. James Jarvis was reading it in Arthur's office the day after he arrived from Ndotsheni. This quote describes the struggle in South Africa to balance the level of suppression an degradation of the black people with the Christian theologies. Many whites believe it is God's will to suppress the blacks to unskilled labor therefore educating them would be contradicting God's plans and morally wrong. Yet Arthur believes that everyone should have the choice and opportunity to develop themselves to the best of their abilities. Ironically it was the people who he was fighting for that ended up killing him

Passage IV

You may not smoke in this Court, you may not whisper or speak or laugh. You must dress decently, and if you are a man, you many not wear your hat unless such is your religion. This is tin honour of the Judge and in honour of the King whose officer he is; and in honour of the Law behind the Judge, and in honour of the People behind the Law. When the Judge enters you will stand, and you will not sit till he is seated. When the Judge leaves you will stand, and you willnot move till he has left you. This is in honour of the Judge, and of the things behind the Judge” (Paton 190)
Explanation: The Court is important because it is a place that will decide the fate of Absalom Kumalo. Paton describes the court as a very strict and structured place. Therefore, it gives a very serious and heavy atmosphere allowing the passage to build tension. Furthermore, the author shows the power of and people's respect for the judge. Their respect and obedience shows social hierarchy and importance of law and the judge's judgement.  The judge symbolizes Law & order and Court symbolizes judgement.

Passage V

For mines are for men, not for money. And money is not something to go mad about, and throw your hat into the air for. Money is for food and clothes and comfort, and a visit to the pictures. Money is to make happy lives of children. Money is for security, and for dreams, and for hopes and for purposes. Money is for buying the fruits of the earth, of the land where you were born.No second Johannesburg is needed upon the earth. One is enough.” ( Paton 204-205)
Explanation: Paton grabs our attention by using repetition. He also emphasizes on the word "Money" and show how having "Money" impacted the lives of the people during the time. The author sends a message that trying to have more money than necessary is nothing more than greed. The last sentence tells the reader that Johannesburg is created from desire to acquire more money and wealth. This passage gives a hint on how Johannesburg was built.