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Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton Essay

Alan Paton is the clever author of Cry, The Beloved Country, a historical fiction book that displays the violences of injustice, discrimation, and imperialism that begins its story in the lonesome island of Ndotsheni where Kumalo lives. Stephen Kumalo, the main protagonist of Alan Paton’s Cry, The Beloved Country, is a meek Zulu pastor who has lived as a native in Ndotsheni. Kumalo discovers his sister Gertrude has fallen ill as addressed in a letter from a fellow priest in Johannesburg. Despite the cost of the strenuous excursion to Johannesburg, Kumalo flees Ndotsheni in hopes of Gertrude’s quick recovery and finding his son Absalom along his journey.

Everyday seems to be a challenging obstacle for Kumalo (I used the black poster board to symbolize these hardships), either searching the metropolis for Absalom or coming to the realization his sister is a prostitute, he never loses his confidence. Therefore, it seems appropriate to ask this basic question: “Why is it so important to keep moving forward and have hope if your loved ones are not around to support?” because questions about life pop into each individual’s mind and life is a heavy package that comes with prices to pay (I used the package to symbolize this).

The title is written symbolically because Stephen and Absalom Kumalo have been seperated, but suddenly Absalom reenters Kumalo’s life. The visual portion’s background contains the repetition of the book’s title because certain remarks are repeated throughout the course of the story, but the title must be read in a way so people turn the paper to fully understand life. The title has underlined letters because they are important messages and ideas I received from the novel.

A major symbol, the dove in the center symbolizes that Christian faith is the center of Kumalo’s life where he acknowledges blacks are inferior to whites. Arthur Jarvis’s written words read, “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). This pop-up quote represents that faith is as high as the heavens and an important element in Jarvis’s and Kumalo’s lives. Jarvis suggests blacks do not develop their God- given gifts like the whites do.

The dove appears to be carrying a heavy load because the Church is the place people go to be heard or to speak (I used the deaf person and the speechless person to symbolize this). However, the burdens on the dove make it difficult to fly. Therefore, the dove fails to conceal the injustices, crimes, punishments, and corruption like the leaky roof of the church in Ndotsheni.

Next, injustice and ironically brightness are symbols in the novel. The sun is a clear image of both; the rings in the sun symbolize the corrupt cycle of racism and the sun itself is the depiction of generosity and warmness. Additionally, the image of the cross is split in half; the colorful half belongs to the whites representing their fruitful lands as opposed to the blacks’ land. The symbols are organized by rank so injustice and change gradually work toward enforcing freedom. Also, the signs generically symbolize the change that needs to be instilled between the whites and blacks, specifically, the “One Way” signs signify the progressive change that overcome the bloodshed and violence portrayed by blood.

It is simply glaring that faith is valuable in the eyes of Kumalo, therefore, the praying hands signify the strength it provides and when lifted the representation is uplifting the souls of those who suffer from injustices. Although the issues discussed in the book are disheartening, the book changes my viewpoint on different ethnicities. I do not look at different people as just another person in the world but more as I person I should learn to appreciate more. The book is a significant work of several universal themes: endurance and bravery and love and confidence. Unfortunately, I wish the assignment allowed me more time to process my ideas, but it improved my thinking so I could realize digging deeper is always beneficial. I am quite impressed with the final outcome of my project because it took me a long while to think of images to use or images to remove.


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