In the title of Alan Paton's work Cry, the Beloved Country, the land is personified. Paton urges the reader not to be misled by the "fields and hedges" or the beauty of the land. Instead, Paton connects the health of the land to the people's physical and emotional health. South Africa is destroyed and deteriorating under the crushing weight of the oncoming apartheid era.
Paton references the "broken tribe" to explore urban crowding and the complicated factors related to youth crime in Black communities. The paltry conditions of juvenile facilities like Diepkloof Reformatory for African Boys haunt the author and expose how deterioration is seen everywhere — even after attempts at meaningful change.
Cry, the Beloved Country as a title implores the land to weep alongside its people. How the destruction of society intertwines with the destruction of nature are themes explored throughout the novel. This is why the personification of nature is so powerful: it creates an ally from the physical environment that houses these systemic ails.