Cry, the Beloved Country

by Alan Paton
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Briefly summarize the story told in Cry, the Beloved Country. Focus only on the main events in the story.

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Cry, the Beloved Country was published in 1948 and is set in South Africa under apartheid. The main events in the story are as follows.

In the village of Ndotsheni, the Reverend Stephen Kumalo, a Zulu priest, receives a letter telling him that his sister, Gertrude, is ill in Johannesburg...

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Cry, the Beloved Country was published in 1948 and is set in South Africa under apartheid. The main events in the story are as follows.

In the village of Ndotsheni, the Reverend Stephen Kumalo, a Zulu priest, receives a letter telling him that his sister, Gertrude, is ill in Johannesburg and needs his help. He goes to Johannesburg, partly to help his sister, but also to find his son, Absalom, who went to Johannesburg to look for Gertrude and never returned.

Kumalo finds that Gertrude is now a prostitute and arranges to take her back to Ndotsheni. He then begins to look for Absalom. This proves to be difficult, but he does find a girl who is now pregnant with Absalom's child, Kumalo's grandson.

While he is trying to find his son, Kumalo learns that Absalom has been arrested for the murder of a civil rights activist called Arthur Jarvis.

James Jarvis, Arthur's father and a wealthy farmer who lives near Ndotsheni, comes to Johannesburg and meets Kumalo. They both attend Absalom's trial, at which Absalom is found guilty and sentenced to death.

Kumalo returns to Ndotshemi with Absalom's former girlfriend, now his wife, since they are hastily married after Absalom's death sentence. He intends to take Gertrude with him as well, but she has disappeared. This makes Kumalo think about the dissolution of family and tribal bonds, which used to be so vital in his society.

After Kumalo returns home, he and James Jarvis become close friends. Jarvis helps the village to reform its agricultural production and donates money to build a new church for Kumalo's parish.

On the day before his son is to be executed, Kumalo talks to Jarvis about the sons they have both lost and the reforms Jarvis has instituted in the village. When he is alone, Kumalo weeps for Absalom's death.

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