What would you say is the spiritual reassessment and moral reconciliation in "Cry, the Beloved Country," and what are some examples that show this?
We are going to discuss this in my English class and I'm having trouble understanding this concept and how it ties in with the novel.
Thank you for your help! :)
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This is a very interesting question. I would want to focus on the journey of the two central characters, Kumalo and Jarvis, and the way that their parallel journeys to the city of Johannesburg and their exposure to the real problems faced by South African society provoke a kind of crisis in them both. What is interesting is the way that they manage to both cling on to hope and go on to let that hope inspire them to act to try and help the terrible situation that South Africa faces, and in particular the village of Kumalo.
It seems to me that the basis for the class discussion is going to lie in how the issue of moral transformation presents itself in Paton's work. I think that the spiritual awakening lies in how the novel treats the issue of racism as one that has to be addressed by Blacks and Whites, Kumalo and Jarvis. The spiritual reassessment comes in how both groups of people understand that the future of their nation and the political reconciliation that has to take place comes from the understanding that it rests with both groups. The issue of Apartheid was one that was seen as strictly an "African" problem or an "Afrikaans" problem. With the sun rising at the end of the novel, the reality is that moral reconciliation can only take place when both groups work together to fix the fragmented state of their country. When Jarvis helps to build a dam and when Kumalo reaches out to rebuild his fragmented family and community, this is where spiritual reassessment can happen, where moral reconciliation is possible. Through this shared dialogue and attempt at rebuilding Africa- "their Africa"- spiritual transformation becomes the basis for political rebuilding.
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