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One of the most important quotations from this excellent novel comes from the final words written by Arthur Jarvis and which are read by his father in Chapter 21. In this document, Arthur Jarvis cogently argues that South Africa cannot be a Christian country if it adopts a Christianity which presents blacks as being inferior to whites. In response to the belief of some South African white Christians, who argue that it is God's will that blacks be inferior, and therefore that it is wrong to educate them, Arthur Jarvis argues that all humans have the right to be able to develop and use the intellect that God has given them. He goes on to argue that South Africa cannot truly be regarded as a Christian nation whilst such views about race continue to be promoted. Note the final words the Arthur Jarvis wrote:
The truth is that our civilization is not Christian; it is a tragic compound of great ideal and fearful practice, of high assurance and desperate anxiety, of loving charity and fearful clutching of possessions. Allow me a minute...
Arthur astutley identifies the paradox that lies at the heart of South Africa as it espouses itself as a Christian nation whilst clutching to it central behaviours and beliefs that reveal the falsity of this notion. The juxtaposition of "loving charity and fearful clutching of possessions" reveals this. There is significant tragic irony in the last four minutes, which are of course the last words that Arthur writes before going down and being killed, as he is murdered by the problems of the past whilst trying to imagine a different future that could solve South Africa's problems. This quote is therefore important because it reveals some of the essential problems of South Africa whilst at the same time acting as a catalyst in Arthur's father and transforming his own views and beliefs.
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