How does Absalom react to his reunion with his father in Cry, the Beloved Country? What reason did he give to the police for shooting the white man?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Absalom is uncomfortable at his first reunion with his father. He stands before Kumalo

"unhappy, there is no gladness in his eyes. He twists his head from side to side, as though the loose clothing is too tight for him."

Absalom is respectful to his father, but his father peppers him with questions, to which he has no answers. When Kumalo takes his son's hand, it is "lifeless."

Kumalo asks Absalom why he has done "this terrible thing," killing a white man while robbing his house. Absalom at first says that he does not know why, but adds that he carried the revolver because "Johannesburg is a dangerous place...a man never knows when he will be attacked." When pressed further by his father, Absalom reveals that he told the police that he

"was frightened when the white man (he) shot him...(he) did not mean to kill him."

Absalom has left the position his father had gotten for him, fallen into bad company, and abandoned the girl who carries his child. In all the time he has been away from home, he has not written to his parents, and he has committed the crime of attempted burglary, and killed a man in the process. When Kumalo asks why he has gone so far astray, Absalom has no answer for his father (Chapter 14).

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Cry, the Beloved Country

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