Cry, the Beloved Country

What kind of man was Kumalo before he left for Johannesburg?


Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

Chapter Two serves as the introduction to the protagonist of Cry, the Beloved Country, the pastor Stephen Kumalo, establishing his main conflicts and character traits. From his first encounter with the small child, Paton establishes Kumalo as a kind man yet powerful and respected within his community despite his poverty, as shown by the small savings that he and his wife had scraped together for their son's education. Kumalo is decidedly a man of the country; he and his wife approach Johannesburg as a nearly mythic place where people go and are never seen again. Paton establishes this sense of awe and wonder in the city in order to create a legitimate sense that Kumalo is an outsider once he actually reaches the urban area. Kumalo visits Johannesburg in order to save his sister, Gertrude, when he receives a letter telling him that she is ill, but then begins to search for his son, Absalom, who had gone to Johannesburg but never returned. A kind and just man who believes in the strength of family life, Kumalo searches desperately for his son in order to reunite his family, but becomes an activist for social justice and a return to rural life once he learns that his son is responsible for the murder of Arthur Jarvis. Cry, the Beloved Country is essentially the story of Kumalo's newfound concern for the fate of South Africa and its inhabitants.