Cry, the Beloved Country

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One voice in Chapter 23 suggests that, with the money from the mines, a second Johannesburg might be built. However, Chapter 23 concludes with a different voice. This voice states, “No second Johannesburg is needed upon the earth. One is enough.” Why is there no need for a second Johannesburg?

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The information here will provide you with details to formulate your answer for this chapter. The very last paragraph below directly relates to the "need" or "no need" of a second Johannesburg.

The discovery of gold in Odendaalsrust in the province of the Orange Free State distracts from the trial of the murder of Arthur Jarvis. There is excitement in Johannesburg, despite the dissatisfaction over the unpronounceable name. There is speculation that the country will be rich again, as shares go up from twenty shillings to one hundred. The only dissent comes from Left Clubs and Church Guilds and societies that promote love and brotherhood. Perhaps a second city like Johannesburg will arise, with a second Parktown and Shanty Town and Pimville. Welfare workers such as Father Beresford and Sir Ernest Oppenheimer suggest that another Johannesburg need not arise, for the government could set up something like the Tennessee Valley Authority, and some say that money is not the important thing at all in the situation. No second Johannesburg is needed, for one is enough.

This chapter breaks almost entirely from the narrative of Cry, the Beloved Country to discuss the larger political situation in South Africa. Paton shifts from practical political solutions to entirely vague and unrealistic recommendations for the solution to the problems in South Africa. The perspective that Paton takes has a strong American influence: after heralding the ideas of Abraham Lincoln in previous chapters, Paton now exalts the New Deal programs of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Yet these more practical suggestions are secondary to the more emotional and spiritual solutions that Paton offers. Paton shows an affinity for the views of the Left Clubs and Church Guilds, in particular their suggestion that the only solution for South Africa is a greater sense of love and brotherhood over concern for personal gain. In essence, Paton asks for a wholesale abandonment of human nature as the solution for the problems of South Africa.

The discussion of the possibility of a new Johannesburg in South Africa serves to broaden the scope of the novel from the situation in Johannesburg to the entirety of South Africa. This suggests that the problems in Johannesburg are not local and specific only to this large urban area, but exist elsewhere. More importantly, Paton suggests that these problems will continue to increase as urbanization continues in South Africa unless the changes he suggests are implemented.