Does the novel ends with optimism?
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Paton relates the fate of the novel's characters to the fate of the South Africa in general. The novel thus ends on a note of hope: Kumalo awakes from a both a literal and a metaphorical darkness into dawn. Therefore, while Paton ends the novel with the question of when Africa itself will emerge from its metaphorical darkness, there is nevertheless the assumption that the emergence into a dawn is inevitable. The question of when this emergence from darkness will occur is the only question that Paton can now pose.