Harold Bloom (ed)'s Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country; New Edition (Bloom's PDF

By Harold Bloom (ed)

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Additional info for Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country; New Edition (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)

Sample text

Stephen’s faith is “that power corrupts, that a man who fights for justice must himself be cleansed and purified, that love is greater than force” (p. 182). Now it is all too clear that throughout Cry, the Beloved Country Paton is preaching for a revolution of hearts (“Change from Within”) rather than for a revolution in social and economic structure (“Change from Without”). Because of his liberal Christian vision and the limits it automatically imposes 42 Stephen Watson on the nature and range of political beliefs and practices available to him, he never really questions the power of humility, respect for persons, compassion and the quest for personal salvation to achieve a significant restructuring of society.

H. Holland —Is it far to walk? asked Kumalo. —It is a long way, umfundisi. Eleven miles. —That is a long way, for an old man. —Men as old as you are doing it every day, umfundisi. And women, and some that are sick, and some crippled, and children. They start walking at four in the morning, and they do not get back till eight at night. They have a bite of food, and their eyes hardly close on the pillow before they must stand up again, sometimes to start off with nothing but hot water in their stomachs.

In English, narrative is normally marked by the use of the past historic in the third person. Indeed, Paton himself uses it orthodoxly for his own purely narrative sections (for example, Book I, Chapter V). The ‘tension’ that Paton sets up between the narrative sections (in the past tense) and the choric sections (in the present) helps to give urgency, width of reference and social relevance to Cry, the Beloved Country. Chapter IX begins thus: All roads lead to Johannesburg. If you are white or if you are black they lead to Johannesburg.

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