This is about cry the beloved country
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The miners are unsatisfied with the working conditions, including the separation from their families and the unfair distribution of wealth from the mines. After the narrative voice says that all is quiet another voice retorts that only fools are quiet. This makes an interesting contrast with John Kumalo with his powerful voice, but lack of action and Arthur Jarvis and his eloquent letters. Both of these men use words but do not follow the words with action. Kumalo out of fear and Jarvis due to his untimely death. Paton could be making the point that words, regardless of how eloquently spoken or written, may begin change, but only action will ultimately bring about that change.