Cry, the Beloved Country

Book II   Chapters 18-29

James Jarvis (Richard Harris) sitting next to Stephen Kumalo (James Earl Jones) in the Miramax production of Cry, the Beloved Country

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Brief Summary

    Book II is presented from James Jarvis's point of view. The reader initially is introduced to Jarvis in Book I, when Kumalo tells Msimangu that he doesn't know Arthur Jarvis but knows his father. As Book II begins Jarvis is calmly watching the valley of Ndotsheni admiring the innocence and relaxed atmosphere of the area. He is interrupted by the presence of the policemen, van Jaarsveld and Binnendyk,  who inform him that his son, Arthur Jarvis, has been shot and killed. Jarvis quickly rushes to Johannesburg with his wife to understand his son's lifestyle, and to attend the trial of the perpetrators.

    In Johannesburg, Jarvis and his wife stay with John Harrison, Arthur Jarvis's wife's brother. Harrison proves to be a very helpful companion to the Jarvis's in their time of despair.  First, Harrison takes them to the mortuary where they see their son's dead body. Harrison's constant praise of Arthur as an engineer, a writer, and a philosopher cause Jarvis to mourn about the relative unawareness he had of his own son's life. To help remedy this problem, Harrison takes Jarvis to his son's house, where he sees where the actual incident occurred. Yet, what really fascinates Jarvis is his son's remarkable collection of literature in his office, with a particular interest in the American Civil War, and Abraham Lincoln. The most important document that Jarvis reads was what Arthur had been writing right before he was killed. It talked about the plight of the workers, and how it was immoral to force the unskilled to work further, without educating them and giving them the opportunity to progress in society.

Graphic Organizer for Chapters 18-21     

Book II contains the climax of the novel, the trial of Absalom Kumalo, Mathew Kumalo, and Johannes Pafuri. Initially, both Johannes and Mathew plead not guilty, while Absalom pleads guilty on the case that it was an accident and that he was frightened. Yet, the judge does not accept these conditions, therefore Absalom is forced to plead not guilty as well. Absalom then proceeds to give a detailed description of what occurred, while a shocked Mathew and Johannes watch as Absalom "rats" them out.  After Absalom's statement the court adjourns. Kumalo sees Jarvis but is too ashamed and scared to talk to him. Sadly, the public had already lost interest in the case, as the headline of a newly found goldmine, overcasts the news of the case. Meanwhile, Jarvis decides to return to his son's library. This time he is intrigued by an article "Private Essay on the Evolution of a South African." that Arthur wrote. Jarvis appreciates his son's recognition of his parenthood, but is angered by the fact that Arthur felt he was unsuccessful at teaching Arthur about South Africa and its history.

Graphic Organizer for Chapters 22-24

    While visiting his niece Jarvis is surprised to find a battered old man at his door. The man is panic-stricken when he first meets Jarvis, and when questioned he reveals that his name is Stephen Kumalo, and that it was his son who had killed Arthur Jarvis. At first Jarvis is overwhelmed and quickly flees the scene, yet after settling down, he returns to Kumalo and they warmly and compassionately explain the grief to one another. Around the same time, John Kumalo gives a speech preaching for a desegregation of the South African government and society. He is watched by Dubula and Tomlinson, who both admire his passion but feel he lacks certain qualities. Stephen Kumalo watches his brother fully captivated by his powerful speech, while Msimangu respects his efforts but agrees that John Kumalo does not possess everything required in a good leader. Yet his speech has far-spread effects. He riles the people as well as the police, and starts many strikes, although most are quickly dealt with. Mean while Gertrude is scolded by Mrs. Lithebe for her actions, and after watching and hearing a nun, she contemplates becoming one. The only problem was her son who she was ever so eager to give to Absalom's pregnant girlfriend.

Graphic Organizer for Chapters 25-27

Book II ends with the verdict and after math. The judge decides that there is not enough proof to convict either Johannes Pafurri or Mathew Kumalo, and gives them both a not guilty verdict. Unfortunately, Absalom is not so lucky, the judge gives him a guilty verdict, and sentences him to death by hanging. Thee only person that could alleviate this charge is the governor-general-in council. Kumalo, Father Vincent, Absalom's pregnant girlfriend, all come to meet Absalom before he had to go. They quickly marry Absalom and his girlfriend in the court, then Absalom and Kumalo have a deep conversation together, where Absalom repents everything he has done, and tells his father about a money stash he has. As Kumalo prepares to leave he confronts his brother about Mathew's dishonesty and John's stance in the politics. Infuriated John kicks Stephen out of his shop. At the same time the Jarvis's head back to Ndotsheni. James slyly slips Harrison a check for the boys club Arthur helped start. As Kumalo also prepares to leave there is a party. At the party Msimangu states that he has decided to become a monk. In the morning when ready to leave Kumalo finds that Gertrude has left yet her child was still with them.

Graphic Organiser for Chapter 28-29