In the novel Cry, the Beloved Country, who dies in Chapters 21-24 and how?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the novel Cry, the Beloved Country, Arthur Jarvis dies. He surprises burglars in his house, and is shot.

Chapter 21 opens with the funeral of Arthur Jarvis. After the ceremony, Arthur's father James Jarvis sits in his son's study, reading his last manuscript. The manuscript reveals that Arthur was highly sympathetic to the plight of the Black population in South Africa, and was actively working to make things better in his beloved country. It is a sad irony that Arthur Jarvis' killer is a Black man, part of the group he was so anxious to help. The irony is further developed because the killer himself is a victim of the untenable conditions engendered by apartheid, the social structure that Arthur Jarvis so hated.

Jarvis had been sitting in his study working on his manuscript when he heard noises downstairs. Going down to investigate, he surprised three burglars. One of them, Absalom Kumalo, was carrying a revolver. Startled by the appearance of the white man, he fired one shot, killing him.

Absalom Kumalo was not the ringleader of the burglars; he was convinced to participate in the crime by an acquaintance, Johannes Pafuri. Johannes and the third burglar, Matthew Kumalo, are acquitted in the crime, but Absalom, who had shot the revolver, is found guilty of murder. Although is the second character in the book who dies, although he does not die in Chapters 21-24, he is subsequently condemned to death, and is executed at the book's end.

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Cry, the Beloved Country

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