Cry, the Beloved Country

The Beloved Country Cries in Pain

Written at the pinnacle of South Africa's social and racial crisis, Alan Paton's novel Cry, the Beloved Country traces the struggle of two families, black and white, through their shared suffering and the devotion to their beloved country that unites them in the end. Paton thoughtfully weaves his plot to show the diverse population's differing viewpoints on many social issues, mostly through the eyes of the main characters. His unique sense of style manifests, however, through his use of intercalary chapters, chapters in the novel which in no way contribute to the storyline, but rather exemplify the terrible social situations in parts of South Africa unknown to the main characters and, therefore, the reader. The book is, in essence, politically allegorical. Paton offers the fictional story of a humble black priest and an enlightened white man's final harmonization, through which a former wasteland returns to fertility, to reveal to the rest of South Africa that all hope for the future is not lost.

A description begins the novel: "there is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills. These hills are grass-covered and rolling, and they are lovely beyond any singing of it." The author speaks of the...

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