As it was being written, South Africa was not Cry, the Beloved Country was filmed once before, inin an honorable if somewhat stilted multi-national effort featuring a young Sidney Poitier in one of his first film roles. This current version is, however, very much a South African production, a bellwether of the enormous changes in that country. Together all have wrought a work worthy to be placed in the top ranks of international cinema.
Plot summary[ edit ] In the remote village of Ndotsheni, in the Natal province of eastern South Africathe Reverend Stephen Kumalo receives a letter from a fellow minister summoning him to Johannesburg.
He is needed there, the letter says, to help his sister, Gertrude, who the letter says has fallen ill.
Kumalo undertakes the difficult and expensive journey to the city in the hopes of aiding Gertrude and of finding his son, Absalom, who traveled to Johannesburg from Ndotsheni and never returned. In Johannesburg, Kumalo is warmly welcomed by Msimangu, the priest who sent him the letter, and given comfortable lodging by Mrs.
Lithebe, a Christian woman who feels that helping others is her duty.
Kumalo visits Gertrude, who is now a prostitute and liquor seller, and persuades her to come back to Ndotsheni with her young son. A more difficult quest follows, when Kumalo and Msimangu begin searching the labyrinthine metropolis of Johannesburg for Absalom.
They visit Kumalo's brother, John, who has become a successful businessman and politician, and he directs them to the factory where his son and Absalom once worked together. One clue leads to another, and as Kumalo travels from place to place, he begins to see the gaping racial and economic divisions that are threatening to split his country.
Eventually, Kumalo discovers that his son has spent time in a reformatory and that he has gotten a girl pregnant.
Meanwhile, the newspapers announce that Arthur Jarvis, a prominent white crusader for racial justice, has been murdered in his home by a gang of burglars.
Kumalo and Msimangu learn that the police are looking for Absalom, and Kumalo's worst suspicions are confirmed when Absalom is arrested for the murder. Absalom confesses to the crime but states that two others, including John's son, Matthew, aided him and that he did not intend to murder Jarvis.
With the help of friends, Kumalo obtains a lawyer for Absalom and attempts to understand what his son has become. When Kumalo tells Absalom's pregnant girlfriend what has happened, she is saddened by the news, but she joyfully agrees to his proposal that she marry his son and return to Ndotsheni as Kumalo's daughter-in-law.
Meanwhile, in the hills above Ndotsheni, Arthur Jarvis's father, James Jarvis, tends his bountiful land and hopes for rain. The local police bring him news of his son's death, and he leaves immediately for Johannesburg with his wife. In an attempt to come to terms with what has happened, Jarvis reads his son's articles and speeches on social inequality and begins a radical reconsideration of his own prejudices.
He and Kumalo meet for the first time by accident, and after Kumalo has recovered from his shock, he expresses sadness and regret for Jarvis's loss. Kumalo arranges for Absalom to marry the girl who bears his child, and they bid farewell. The morning of his departure, Kumalo rouses his new family to bring them back to Ndotsheni, only to find that Gertrude has disappeared.
Kumalo is now deeply aware of how his people have lost the tribal structure that once held them together, and returns to his village troubled by the situation. It turns out that James Jarvis has been having similar thoughts. Arthur Jarvis's young son befriends Kumalo.
As the young boy and the old man become acquainted, James Jarvis becomes increasingly involved with helping the struggling village. He donates milk at first and then makes plans for a dam and hires an agricultural expert to demonstrate newer, less devastating farming techniques. Just as the bishop is on the verge of transferring Kumalo, Jarvis sends a note of thanks for the wreath and offers to build the congregation a new church, and Kumalo is permitted to stay in his parish.
On the evening before his son's execution, Kumalo goes into the mountains to await the appointed time in solitude. On the way, he encounters Jarvis, and the two men speak of the village, of lost sons, and of Jarvis's bright young grandson, whose innocence and honesty have impressed both men.
Characters[ edit ] Stephen Kumalo: A year-old Zulu priest who attempts to find his family in Johannesburgand later to reconstruct the disintegrating tribe in his village. A priest from Johannesburg who helps Kumalo find his son Absalom.
Stephen's brother, who denies the tribal validity and becomes a spokesman for the new racial movement in the city; a former carpenter. Stephen's son who left home to look for Stephen's sister Gertrude, and who murders Arthur Jarvis.
The young sister of Stephen who becomes a prostitute in Johannesburg and leads a dissolute life. A wealthy landowner whose son, Arthur, is murdered.
He comes to the realization of the guilt of white residents in such crimes and forgives the Kumalos. Murdered by Absalom Kumalo, he is the son of James Jarvis. He does not appear in the novel, but his liberal racial views are highly significant and influential.
A big man who was the "heart" of anything and everything Arthur Jarvis did, including wanting peace between the races. Absalom's lawyer; he takes his case pro deo for God in this case meaning for free. A priest from England who helps Stephen in his troubles. A native housewife in whose house Stephen stays while in Johannesburg.
A father and son who represent two opposing views concerning the racial problem.This is a new reading of Alan Paton's impassioned novel about a black man's country under white man's law.
Set in the troubled and changing South Africa of the s, Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of Stephen Kumalo, a Zulu pastor, and his son, Absalom. Cry, The Beloved Country was a good book overall.
Although, it was a little slow paced during the first few chapters. This lengthy introduction was boring, yet it . Essay Cry, The Beloved Country By Alan Paton “Cry, the Beloved Country” by Alan Paton is a novel about priest Stephen Kumalo, and his discoveries concerning corruption, faith, friendship, change, and tradition in the dynamic settings of Ndotsheni and Johannesburg, cities in South Africa.
Steam Train rides through the country that Alan Paton made famous in his book " Cry the Beloved Country".
An amazing trip on a steam train. Cry the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice.
Remarkable for its contemporaneity, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man. Cry, the Beloved Country An Oprah Book Club selection, Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important novel in South Africa’s history, was an immediate worldwide bestseller in Alan Paton’s impassioned novel.