Cry, the Beloved Country

Describe Johannesburg. Symbolically, what happens to people that go to live in the city?

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This chapter focuses primarily on the descriptions of Johannesburg as an imposing and threatening place. Paton establishes that the city is foreign to Kumalo in many ways, even in language; Kumalo has so little experience with urban areas that he mistakes a mining area for a metropolis. Kumalo is therefore the quintessential outsider when he reaches Johannesburg. This is important in several respects. His outsider status allows Paton to use characters, most importantly Msimangu, to explain the workings and logistics of Johannesburg that would be obvious to an actual citizen of urban South Africa. Also, the novelty of the situation allows Kumalo a greater attention to detail, thus creating opportunities for detailed description of horrors that may seem routine to any modern reader. Lastly, Kumalo's status as an outsider, as this chapter certainly demonstrates, makes the pastor a ready victim for opportunists. Despite his age and experience, Kumalo possesses a demonstrable naïveté that will be significant throughout Cry, the Beloved Country.

Those who go to the city become lost to their families.