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Cry the Beloved Country dialectical journal Essay

“Kumalo climbed into the carriage for non-Europeans, already full of the humbler people of his race…” (43) How there’s a carriage exclusively for non-Europeans is understandable at the time period that this novel is set in, but people who read this in the 21st century might think that this is odd how Europeans couldn’t stand to ride in the same carriage as non-Europeans. “Black and white it says, black and white, though it is red and green. It is too much to understand.” (47) The order it goes, black and white then red and green. It shows you that the whites are more superior because they are the sign to go, and the blacks have to stop and wait. The whites always get first word on things and blacks have to settle with that the whites left them. “They talked of young criminal children and older and more dangerous criminals, of how white Johannesburg was afraid of black crime.” (52)

How it says “black crime” is just wrong. There is such thing as white crime too, but apparently the white people don’t think that white crime is just as dangerous as black crime. It shows how scared they were of people of different races and think that just because of your color you are prone to do more dangerous things. “That is a pity, says Msimsngu. I am not a man for segregation, but it is a pity that we are not apart. They run trams from the centre of the city, and part is for Europeans and part for us. But we are often thrown off the trams by young hooligans. And our hooligans are ready for trouble too.” (58) It’s sort of sad how this is a person who doesn’t believe in segregation, but feels the need to be apart from the other race.

When someone is being hostile towards you it’s not a good feeling, so of course you wouldn’t want to be near that individual. I think in this setting and time it’s understandable that someone would feel this way about being separated. Kumalo’s face wore the smile, the strange smile not known in other countries, of a black man when he sees one of his people helped in public by a white man, for such a thing is not lightly done. (81) It bothers me that this smile is for a deed that should be done anyway. I mean, I know it’s set in a time where there’s segregation between the different races, but seeing how I was born and raised in an era where it isn’t customary to ignore someone solely because of their race.

Cry, the Beloved Country
Dialectical Journals
Theme: Fear
Quote
Response
The small child opened the door, carefully like one who was afraid to open carelessly, the door of so important a house, and stepped timidly in.” (35) Just how the girl’s movement is describes makes me feel scared. The words “timidly” and “carelessly” really add on to how you could picture her moving. Being a small child and going into a house that is owned by such an important person would be terrifying because if you were to accidentally break something or slip up then it’d be very bad. “They go to Johannesburg, and there they are lost, an no one hears of them at all.” (39) It sounds like Johannesburg is sucking them up and not letting them free. People might never hear from people that have gone to Johannesburg because their life was getting worse by living in Johannesburg. I would be kind of scared to go to Johannesburg because no one hears from you again.

“He goes carefully that he may not bump anybody, holding tightly on to his bag.”(47) He’s afraid that someone might try to snatch his bag. Being in an unknown place is hard for a lot of people. They hear rumors and then they get scared. It’s not bad to always be careful, but it wasn’t just careful he was being. The young man took the pound and walked a short distance to the corner. As the turned it. Kumalo was afraid. The line moved forward and he with it, clutching his bag. And again forward, and again forward, and soon he must enter a bus, but still he had no ticket. As through the has suddenly thought of something he left he line, and walked the corner, but there was no sign of the young man.(48-49) Trusting strangers with your money isn’t an easy thing to do. And being in a foreign place makes it even more confusing on if you should trust anyone or not. When you’re poor like Kumalo was, money was very precious to you. He was taking money that was going to be used for clothes. Seeing someone run off with your money is something that makes you lose faith in the human race.

Cry, the Beloved Country
Dialectical Journals
Theme: Economic Prosperity v. Loss of Values
Quote
Response
“She came here to look for her husband who was recruited for the mines… She lives in Claremont, not far from here. It is one of the worst places in Johannesburg… … that is her work, she makes and sells it… These women sleep with any man for their price… She has been in prison, more than once.” (53) Kumalo’s sister went to the big city to find her husband and it turns out that she never did. At least that’s what it seems like it’s trying to hint at. It seems like as soon as she entered a place to be rumored as a better economic area, she lost all morals and values. This is sad really, for both Kumalo and his sister. (55)

Cry, the Beloved Country
Dialectical Journals
Theme: Poverty
Quote
Response
“How can I use it? he said. This money was to send Absalom to St. Chad’s… This money we have saved for that purpose will never be used for it.” (38-39) Stephen feels if he were to use the money they saved for his son it wouldn’t be right. He also knows that if he doesn’t use it, it might never be used for anything at all. He doesn’t know where his son is because he hasn’t tried to contact ever since he left. “Take it all, Stephen. There may be doctors, hospital, other troubles. Take it all. And take the Post Office Book––there is ten pounds in it––you must take that also. – I have been saving that for your stove, He said

– That cannot be helped, she said. And that other money, though we saved it for St. Chad’s, I had meant it for your new black clothes, and a new black hat, and new white collars” (40) I think how Stephen’s wife tells him to take all the money is something that shows how much she cares about his well being. How they were saving it for a stove for his wife and new clothes for Stephen but his wife wanted him to take the money for their needs before their wants. Stephen needs to have enough money for anything and everything that might be thrown in his path in this journey he is about to embark on. “This is a long way to go, and a lot of money to pay. And if he has to bring her back, what will that cost too?” (42) He’s going to this unknown city where they don’t know how much things are. And if his sister is gravely ill, then what? He’s not going to leave her there, she’s family and family always comes first.

“Is it wrong to ask more money? John Kumalo asks. We get little enough. It is only our share that we ask, enough to our wives and families from starvation. For we do not get enough. The Lansdown Commission said that we do not get enough. The Smit Commission said that we do not get enough.” (218) Everyone is saying that John Kumalo is poor because he isn’t getting enough money. He’s wondering if asking for money is something that is socially acceptable, even if you need it to not starve. I think that this is sort of sad because when you think about it there are people in this time of day that would ask the same question to themselves but never ask.

Cry, the Beloved Country
Dialectical Journals
Theme: Religion
Quote
Response
(37)
I lied. This doesn’t work.
(43)
Ha. This one doesn’t work either >.<
(51)
Oh and this? FAIL.
“They went into a room where a table was laid, and there he met many priests, both white and black, and they sat down after grace and ate together.” (51) At a time of social and political unrest, the two different races could sit together without being appalled by each other’s races. I think that speaks
for itself in the fact that religion is uniting the (187)

Ha not this one. this one is evil. jk

Cry, the Beloved Country
Dialectical Journals
Theme: Forgiveness
Quote
Response
“They knelt down, and he prayed, quietly so that the neighbors might not hear, and she punctuated his petitions with Amens. And when he had finished, she burst into a torrent of prayer, of self-denunciation, and urgent petition. And thus reconciled, they sat hand in hand.” (61)

“… And he said to her, will you now take a fourth husband? And desperately she said, no, no, I want no husband anymore.” (146)

“ And so he laughed again, and let go her hands, and took up his hat. I shall come for you when everything is ready for the marriage. Have you clothes?” (148)

“-I have heard you, he said. I understand what I did not understand. There is no anger in me.” (214)


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