Hoe to kill people The parents in the novel, Cry, the Beloved Country have trouble in raising their children. This is evident when looking at how much trouble the children get into. Absolom, the son of a priest, murders a white man. His cousin, Matthew, is an accomplice in the murder. He then lies about it to save himself, not thinking about his cousin. The parents in the novel are selfish and self-centred and therefore do not become involved in their child's life, as a result of this the children make bad decisions and get into trouble.
Kumalo is too concerned with his own life to get involved with Absolom's. When he does try to save him, it is too late. For many years Kumalo had been peacefully living with his wife and not really giving Absolom a second thought. He wondered why Absolom had not returned letters in quite awhile, but never was really concerned about it.
The only reason he journeyed to Johannesburg was because he received a letter saying that Gertrude was sick. Once Kumalo finds his son and realizes that trouble he is in, he does try to help. But it is too late to save Absolom, whose bad lifestyle is established and taken effect on him. Had Kumalo thought to get involved in his son's life earlier, Absolom probably would not be in the trouble he is in now. Kumalo's self-centeredness is clear when he learns of the trouble Absolom is in: "Perhaps his son and the girl would go back with them to Ndotsheni, perhaps he and his wife would give to the child what they had failed to give their own. Yet where had they failed? What had they done, or left undone, that their son had become a thief, moving like a vagabond from place to place, living with a girl who herself was no more than a child, father of a child who would have no name? Yet he comforted himself, that was in Johannesburg." (Pg. 87.) Kumalo thinks about what he could have done wrong in raising Absolom, but then convinces himself that is was his son's fault, or the city's. He also thinks about fixing his mistake by raising his grandchild well. He is acting self-centred by blaming everyone but himself for his son's problems. Kumalo is also selfish and wants to protect his reputation from the disgraceful mistakes his son has made. "Pity that he a priest should have a grandchild born in such a fashion. Yet that could be repaired. If they were married, then he could try to rebuild what had been broken." (Pg.87.) In this quote Kumalo is trying to cover up or "fix" what Absolom had done. Kumalo may have good intentions eventually, but he is too wrapped up in his own life too long to save his son's.
John is too busy dealing with his business for his son, and seems more worried about his own reputation then his son's well-being. John has no relationship with his son and never knows where he is. This is evident in an exchange with Kumalo. "Well, you know how these young men are. I do not blame them altogether. You see, my son did not agree well with his second mother. What is was about I could not discover. Nor did he agree with his mother's children. Many times I tried to arrange matters, but I did not succeed. So he said he would leave. He had good work so I did not stop him. And your son went with them. Where my brother? I do not rightly know." (Pg.38.) It is clear that John has no relationship with Matthew, because his son ran away from home. John is irresponsible and self-centred because he does not know where his son is, nor does he care. John is too occupied with his work to get involved in his son's life. Although they live in the same town, John makes no effort to contact his son or establish a relationship. The only interaction we see with John and Matthew is during the court case. This is the one time John helps Matthew out. He lies to the court about Matthew being an accomplice to the murder of Arthur Jarvis. Even this act was done in selfishness. John only wanted his son to be declared innocent to protect his reputation. John puts himself before his son in every decision he makes, and does not try to develop any sort of relationship with him.
Gertrude is very self-centred as well, she never thinks about her son when making choices, only herself. Gertrude is a prostitute and an illegal liquor seller. She always has different men around and does not know where her husband is. She allows her son to grow up in this dangerous and unsuitable environment. She has no concern for his safety or well-being, only her own. Gertrude has no good intentions for her son because she is too self-involved and immature. Gertrude is very inconsiderate and stubborn. She runs out on her son at the end of the novel to go back to her old lifestyle. In this quote, Kumalo is just realizing that Gertrude has run away. "He opened Gertrude's door, and held up his candle. But Gertrude was gone. The little boy was there, the red dress and the white turban were there. But Gertrude was gone." (Pg.216.) She is too stubborn and closed minded to change the way she lives for the good of her son, and herself. Gertrude is very immature and unable to make a decision with anyone else in mind but herself, this makes her and uninvolved and uncaring mother.
The parents in this novel are too fixated on their own lives, feelings, needs and thoughts to get involved enough in their children's lives. Life is hard for these children and they need guidance and support from their parents. If their parents are unable to give them the support, love and guidance they need, the children are going to make bad decisions and get into trouble, which is precisely what happened in the book. The parents need to grow up and stop thinking about only themselves for a change, they need to focus more on their children. If they want their child to stay out of trouble and have a happy, successful life, they must get involved and help their children through the different steps in life. Children must learn good values and morals from their parents, or, when they leave home they will be lost and be unable to make good decisions; this too happened in the novel. Also, the parents must establish a good, trusting relationship with their children, so that the children can learn good habits from them. The parents in this novel are selfish and self-centred and therefore do not become involved in their child's life, as a result of this the children make bad decisions and get into trouble.