What are the settings effects on the readers in Cry the Beloved Country?
Throughout this novel, the settings seem to mirror the characters and the tribe. The decay of the land parallels the decay of tribal life. The business and chaos of the city parallels the corruption most of those who leave the tribe find in the city. Jarvis's land at the top of the mountain is evidence of his life of plenty. As such, we as readers are able to gain a stronger understanding of the characters through the settings. Descriptions of the land and the shanty towns can also be a way to help us feel empathy for the characters. We see what they see, and we want them to succeed; we want their sadness to end; and, when at the end of the book we see hope for rain and growth in the valley, we rejoice at their impending salvation.
The land is one of the connections between us and the reader. From the first line of the book "There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills" we are connected to Stephen Kumalo. We stand where he stands, see what he sees, and feel what he feels. We also end the book, sitting on the mountain with Stephen watching the sun rise, and waiting and hoping for "the dawn...of our emancipation." The setting provides a space where we and the characters can be together experiencing the same things.