Books and Movies Reviews

Cry the Beloved Country

Essay – Cry, The Beloved Country
The controversial novel, Cry the Beloved country, originally published in 1948 by Alan Paton has received just as much praise as condemnation. The novel, thought long since antiquated by some, remains a classic still, after 50 years. Paton's novel has been continually critiqued, compared, and contrasted against not only his own later work, but also with other South African novelists
Paton, who grew up in Pietermartizburg, Natal, South Africa; always enjoyed the beauty around him. At the age of 22, he began a teaching career,first at a native school in the village of Ixopo, then at Pietermartizburg College. Years later he abandoned teaching to begin a career as a reformatory worker. He was appointed principal to the diepkloof reformatory, where he attempted to loosen the restrictions placed on the boys and emphasizes preparation for life outside the reformatory walls. He traveled extensively to study reformatories throughout the world. It was on one of these trips that he was inspired to write cry the beloved country, the novel that made him famous.
In the 1930's and 40's South Africa was a nation torn apart by racial segregation, enforced inequality, and prejudice. A wave of crime, mostly by black natives and largely upon wealthy white citizens, was leading to a kind of national panic among the white minority. Paton's novel finds its setting in this fragile society, where fear and hatred diminish the beauty and good of the nation.
Paton created a major conflict in the novel, Cry the Beloved Country. He moves the readers to believe that there is an inner uncertainty within the main characters. He chooses to romanticize and put into perspective the conflict between the Europeans, and the native south Africans. This conflict is one of morality and an undeniable change from old tradition to new ways. As in any society, "change" in general promotes fear. The chan…


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