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Cry the Beloved Country

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Evelyn Park

Ms. Callender

English 2 Pre-AP/GT - 3rd

18/Oct/2011

Cry, the Beloved Country ICTW

In the book "Cry, the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton, a white priest comforts the main character, Stephen Kumalo, who falls into a great despair by the actions of his family members. The priest advises Kumalo that sorrow dominates over fear because sorrow enriches and flourishes the person. Kumalo's caring and faithful character develops as he faces more fears and sorrows through his journey in Johannesburg. The fears and sorrows that impoverish and enrich him include the fear of how his son and his two siblings have been doing in Johannesburg and the outcome of reuniting with them.

When Kumalo receives a letter from Johannesburg, the first person whom he thinks of is his son, Absalom. Although the letter invigorates and delights Kumalo, "when it came, he feared to open it" because he knows that there is no turning back once he opens the letter (Paton, 37). In Kumalo's mind, millions of feelings come across, with fear being prominent over all other feelings. This kind of fear encourages Kumalo to travel to Johannesburg. When Kumalo discovers that his son murdered a white man, Kumalo enunciates that "Absalom is a stranger. [He] cannot touch him, [he] cannot reach him, [he sees] no shame in him" (Paton, 141). This sorrow shows resignation of Stephen Kumalo and enriches him to grow stronger. Through this sadness, Kumalo experiences the typical life in Johannesburg. The fears and sorrows that Absalom give him contribute to opportunities for Kumalo to face the real cruel world.

In addition to Kumalo's fears and sorrows for Absalom, his sister Gertrude worries him when he receives the letter announcing that she is ill. Kumalo encounters a situation where he has to use the money that he and his wife "have been saving for the stove" (Paton, 40). Because Kumalo is unaware of how people live in the crowded city of Johannesburg, he fears that he cannot afford the entire trip. He also wonders how badly sick his sister is and how she has been behaving in the past. However, Gertrude only gives him disappointment when he hears that she "sleeps with any man for their price" (Paton, 53). He believes that she belittles his reputation and the title of umfundisi. Since this is the first challenge he encounters in Johannesburg, he suffers greatly in frustration. In a positive way, this incident and realization become a stepping stone for later shocking news. Again, Kumalo's desire to help out his sister shows his responsibility and accountability.

Lastly, his brother John's change as a person shocks and worries Stephen Kumalo. When Msimangu tells him that his brother "is a great man in politics,

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