Fear, Injustice and Family in Cry, the Beloved Country

Essay by snocaps67High School, 12th gradeA, March 2008

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Nothing is ever perfect. All systems have their flaws. Sometimes more flaws than any good. That was the way it was in South Africa during the apartheid, people had to break away from the family and their tradition just to get food and a little money. The corrupt government spread ideas of inequality and injustice, forcing people to live in fear of their lives. In his protest novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton uses the interaction of characters to illustrate the negative effects of apartheid on both the natives in South Africa and the white oppressors. He uses the subject fear to demonstrate the everlasting ideas of the world’s corrupt system of justice and what effects it can have on family and religion.

A corrupt system, such as apartheid, can jump start a cycle of inequality and injustice that will roam the country and haunt the families it breaks up.

Steven Kumalo’s search for Absalom was based on inequalities and racism, which systematically created his troubles. Absalom shot Jarvis out of fear of what he might do to him and his two friends since he caught them in the house robbing him: “And again the tears in the eyes. Who knows if he weeps for the girl he has deserted? Who knows if he weeps for a promise broken…Or does he weep for himself alone, to be let be, to be let alone, to be free from the merciless rain of questions, why, why, why, when he knows not why (99)”. Black south Africans are treated different from the white South Africans. Absalom weeps because he is scared of the questions and what their answers could be. He doesn’t know why he shot Jarvis because he knew it was the wrong thing to do, but there was...