M itibaren Kada, Gujarat 384305, Hindistan
Sam Stevens Mr. Rich English II 7 September 2011 Book Review B Paton, Alan. Cry, The Beloved Country. New York: Scribner, 2003. Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton is a book filled with drama set during the Apartheid Era in South Africa. Stephen Khumalo, the book’s main character, a reverend from a small rural village is making the journey from his village in east South Africa to Johannesburg to try and find his sister and his son. When he arrives in Johannesburg he is heartbroken to find his sister living as a prostitute and his son arrested for the murder of a white political activist. Emotions propel the book forward with even more drama. This book is filled with sadness and sorrow but still shows readers that they have hope and can change the world if they want to. During the 1940’s and 1950’s South Africa was enduring a lot of pain and suffering. The citizens living there saw no hope of escaping the suffering. The land of South Africa itself is filled with vast rolling plains that offer a glimmer of hope and promise. Paton’s style of writing and poetic choice of words in the book is beautiful and kept me glued to the book for days. Paton describes South Africa as a land fractured with hatred between blacks and whites. The blacks carry out violent crimes against the whites, plunging Johannesburg into fear. The whites do not know what to do. "Who knows how we shall fashion a land of peace where black outnumbers white so greatly? For we fear not only the loss of our possessions, but the loss of our superiority and the loss of our whiteness. Some say it is true that crime is bad, but would this not be worse? Is it not better to hold what we have, and to pay the price of it with fear? And others say, can such fear be endured?" (Paton 78) The whites know that education could improve the blacks condition, and help reduce the crime rate. What the white people fear though, is an educated black population difficult to control, and harder to exploit. Because of this, the cycle of destruction is allowed to continue. I especially liked this book because throughout all the problems in the book and South Africa, Paton always shows the reader there is hope. Stephen Khumalo is used as an example of hope for his country because he can always find the good in even the worst of things. I loved the way Paton continued to write about fear being a powerful emotion, but love being an even stronger one. Paton writes that love has the power to heal people’s deep wounds, and love did heal the people of South Africa’s wounds and help unite the country later on in history. Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country remains relevant for modern readers because of the similarities between South Africa in the 1940s and the world today. Fear of terrorist attacks have gripped the world, as the war against terror continues. Despite all this violence and gloom, the book reminds us that in each one of us there is the potential to do good. The book shows readers they have the power to change the world if they really want to make a difference.
There are a few books that I will always remember reading: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Giovanni's Room - for me this book represents a cultural studies classic. Suffice it to say, I read it at a time that it had (and still does) a profound impact on my thinking.