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Cry The Beloved Country
At the crossroads two separate worlds meet. Each opposing world examines the
other. Both worlds use different customs and different languages. One world uses
a belief system based on monotheism and exercises a democratic-like government.
The other possesses a belief system based on polytheism and operates their
government in complete anarchy. Neither worlds can understand or comprehend how
the other world functions. In Alan Patonís Cry The Beloved Country, the
natives of South Africa, particularly the Kumalo family, faces a similar problem
at the crossroads. The problem is the trapping of people between both worlds.
Some people are confined to the old world which consists of rituals, strict
tribal adherence to old customs, and reverence for the village chief. Others are
ensnared in the world of the white man who disrupts the customs of the old
country and brings assimilation to this world. Cry the Beloved Country reveals a
process of assimilation which disturbs the quiet lifestyle of the Kumalo family
and creates a void that devours them in a shroud of misery. Cry The Beloved
Country clearly explains the process of assimilation that divides the Kumalo
family. This event that has obviously separated the Kumalo family causes long
term effects brought forth by the new world, the world of the white man. One
such member is John Kumalo Hudson 2 who left for Johannesburg in search of life
in the city and begins to deny the validity of tribal life. Gertrude Kumalo,
another member of the Kumalo family, discovers the glorious wonders of the new
world as she becomes a prostitute in the large city. That in turn leads to a
dissolute life in which Gertrude abandons the ways of the old country. Absalom
Kumalo, who is also a part of the Kumalo family, comes to the new city and
commits the heinous crime known as murder. As has been demonstrated, all members
of the Kumalo family have experienced the clash of cultures evident in the
society at the time.
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Cry, the Beloved Country, Absalom
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