Cry, the Beloved Country

The Interrelated Structure of Cry, the Beloved Country

Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country exhibits the effects of living in Johannesburg; though it is a city divided by race, its inhabitants lead parallel lives (Cry, the Beloved Country 33-312). The lives of the two main characters, Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis, are first depicted separately, giving each a quality of distinctness and independence (33-210). When Kumalo and Jarvis meet, however, it is clear that they parallel one another, leading similar lifestyles and experiencing similar tragedies (33-216). The underlying element of style throughout Cry, the Beloved Country is subtle symbolism, for there are significant details whose importance are not immediately obvious. Cry, the Beloved Country is composed of three books, each structured to give insight into the separate lives Kumalo and Jarvis, while subtly showing how each life is interrelated (33-312).

The first book describes the plight of Stephen Kumalo, a native of South Africa, as he journeys through Johannesburg. It introduces Kumalo as the protagonist and sets up the framework for the conflicts he soon encounters. Johannesburg acts as both the setting and the antagonist, for it is where racism, crime, and poverty dwell, and is the source of Kumalo's misery...

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