Homework Help

In Cry, the Beloved Country, what examples are there in the novel of people who love...

user profile pic

french-affair | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 27, 2010 at 6:57 AM via web

dislike 2 like

In Cry, the Beloved Country, what examples are there in the novel of people who love and therefore do not seek power?

John Kumalo was corrupted by power. I need a few examples of people who loved and did not seek power.

3 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 28, 2010 at 7:27 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Great question! You are right in identifying John Kumalo as a character that seeks power for his own ends. To answer your question you might want to consider which other characters in the novel we can view as "foils" of John Kumalo and his selfish ambition. To me, the clear character who is presented as a deliberate contrast to John Kumalo is Misimangu. He throughout the novel is a guide and instructor to Kumalo as he is presented with the "new world" of Johannesburg. He is shown to be compassionate, generous and understanding as he fulfills this role, giving up his time to support Kumalo and patiently explaining the realities of the social injustice that blacks in Johannesburg face. Another key difference however is how both John Kumalo and Msimangu use words. Consider Chapter 13 in Ezenzeleni when Kumalo hears Msimangu preach and note what the narrator says:

It is good for the Government, they say in Johannesburg, that Msimangu preaches of a world not made by hands, for he touches people at their hearts, and sends them marching to heaven instead of to Pretoria.

Yet others criticise him for his rhetoric:

They say he preaches of a world not made by hands, while in the streets about him men suffer and struggle and die.

Whilst some praise Msimangu for preaching peace and focus on an afterlife, others criticise him for preaching love and patience in a context of injustice. Yet this is a markedly different way of talking from John Kumalo, who clearly and calculatedly stirs up the crowd to fever pitch and pulls back just at the brink. Msimangu's example of love is clearly epitomised at the end of the novel in his decision to become a monk and his generous gift of all his savings to Kumalo. This is a character who in his devotion and dedication to love sets an example and gives home against the stark backdrop of despair presented in the novel.

user profile pic

kmalone614 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted December 30, 2010 at 11:06 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 1 like

There are a few examples of characters in Cry, the Beloved Country who are motivated by love, therefore do not seek power. I believe the best example of this is in the main character, Stephen Kumalo. Stephen is motivated by love in many ways. He lives a life of poverty as the minister in Ndotsheni, giving up much to serve his calling.

He also takes the long and difficult journey to Johannesburg, a foreign and dangerous place, simply on the benevolent mission to help his sister, and find his son. Both have strayed from the straight and narrow path, but he still wants to help them, not to benefit himself, in fact it will come as a loss to his material life, but Stephen believes there is more to life.

user profile pic

ntibane | Student | Honors

Posted August 29, 2010 at 8:45 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

Dubula. Though he was a politician, he did his bit for his community. I recall the scene where a mother of a sick child comes to him for help. Dubula arranges a doctor for that child.

There are buildings in his community because of him. He is making a difference.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes