The Reality Of Racism- As Illustrated In “Cry, The Beloved Country”The Reality of Racism- Displayed In Cry, the Beloved Country
Cry, the Beloved Country is not another novel of common strife between man and his fellow. It is an entirely higher sense of what “brother against brother” is. Seemingly harmless characters like Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis reveal the bigger picture of racism around the entire country. The effect of extreme poverty, the responsibility of the whites, made this story possible. The solution to the problem is portrayed through Absalom, his crime, and Arthur Jarvis. “‘Bexxuse the white man has power, we too want power,’ he said. ‘But when a black man gets power, when he gets money, he is a great man if he is not corrupted Paton 70.'” John Kumalo’s words were rebuke against the white nation. The blacks had the same vices and values as the whites, yet the whites were more dominant. Why should it be that way? This story is the protest against that white domination.
Johannesburg was racked with poverty. Any fool knows that when there is poverty, crime will run rampant bexxuse of the desperate people trying to survive. Absalom Kumalo was not the first murderer or thief in the city. There were many more killings and robberies. This was accepted as reality. All lives led to nowhere. After all, if your skin is black, opportunities of leading a privileged life are limited. Why try? This attitude led to filth and poverty. When no one has a life to lead chaos reigns. Should crime not have a place in this society? With so many people homeless and poor, the only way to get money is to steal. The root of this problem was the white man.
Paton expresses them through James Jarvis. This was the white man in the flesh. He adhered to the common stereotypes of blacks, which were rampant. Although His residence was close to a black village, He chose to have nothing to do with them. Even in the courtroom after his son’s death, he remains indifferent to this obviously pitiful race. Arthur’s death was like a wake-up xxll from heaven. Paton purposely created this situation of the demise of a universally beloved man to tell the white people that if they do not lend a hand in stopping the black degradation, they might have to learn the hard way. Had this not have happened, Jarvis would have ended his life ignorant about the black plight.
Stephen Kumalo was quiet and unassuming, timid in the face of white men. He lacked that inner strength to stand up for his rights. After all, he was new to Johannesburg and still unlearned about the facts of metropolitan life. It is funny why Paton picked such a man to portray the black nation. Why not a vigorous, socially active hothead? Bexxuse this is what the black people were. They were so downtrodden that they looked inward for freedom instead of demanding it from the outside world. This sorry situation changed their perspective of what real freedom was. They were happy with what the white man gave them, and took it, quiet and unassuming. They were all, in a sense, “unlearned” in white treachery. Who xxn expect such a stifled society to be a leading one?
The solution to this problem was portrayed through Arthur. Paton is expressing the need of the white responsibility – through Jarvis- to end the racial inequality- through Kumalo. White men could have set up boys’ clubs, implemented equal rights, become
more involved in the black community. Maybe then the crime and poverty would not be as widespread among the blacks. Arthur Jarvis’ solution, for example, could have helped
Absalom directly.He would have had a diversion to relax in the form of sports or other activities. Most importantly, it would have provided him with a mentor while his father was not with him. The missing mentor to the “fatherless” child could have prevented the murder simply by giving him advice and good values. Consequently, Absalom might not have gone into crime.
Unfortunately, people favor superficialities like beauty, money, and in this xxse, skin color. No matter what their gifts, blacks were disadvantaged. Pre-suppositions such as these and uneven balance of power corrupts everyone and xxn spoil a perfectly good country. This uneven balance xxn tip totally the other way, instead of maintaining a healthy relationship between the two races. This is exactly what is happening in South Afrixx today. The black people are having their revenge. Such revenge is unhealthy to the well being of the state. “Give them the same opportunities as the white people and they xxn achieve the same results.” Alan Paton used this book as a vehicle to stress this point. In the words of the fiery John Kumalo, “‘I see only one hope for our country, and that is when white men and black men, desiring neither power nor money, but desiring only the good of their country, come together to work for it Paton 71.'”
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