What is one undisputed fact during the trial in Cry, the Beloved Country?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The one undisputed fact during the trial is that Absalom killed Arthur Jarvis.

Absalom never denies that he killed Arthur Jarvis, but his defense is that he did not mean to kill him.  He maintains to the very end,

"I killed this man, but I did not mean to kill him, only I was afraid".

Absalom had gone with his cousin and another man to the Jarvis home with the intention of stealing.  They had not expected Jarvis to be home, but when the homeowner comes down the stairs to see what is going on, they are surprised, and Absalom, who is carrying a gun, shoots him in a panic.  Absalom contends that he had only brought the gun along to frighten someone should they be caught, but it is the fact that he even had the gun in his possession that condemns him.  The judge concludes that Absalom had brought the gun along with the intention of using it should the need arise, knowing it had the potential to kill.  This reality is enough to make him guilty of murder.

The other two men involved in the murder are acquitted because they successfully lie about what happened.  Absalom, however, never wavers from the truth.  It was he who pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Jarvis; this fact is never in dispute, and Absalom never prevaricates.  Sadly, despite his transparent honesty and repentance, he alone of the three is sentenced to die.

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Cry, the Beloved Country

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