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Barron's Booknotes-Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

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BOOK III (CHAPTERS 30-36): REBUILDING

CHAPTER 30

The journey to Ndotsheni retraces the route Kumalo followed earlier. A catalog of names again suggests the distances and changing scenes. Near Ndotsheni the land is dry; rain is badly needed. People he knows start boarding the train, but Kumalo doesn't want to answer questions. Have you ever pretended to be sleeping, or read a magazine you didn't care about, to avoid talking? Kumalo's method is to read his sacred book.

Mrs. Kumalo and the man who carried the bags meet them. She welcomes her nephew and daughter-in-law as her own children, and all the villagers shower welcome on Kumalo as the family walks to Ndotsheni. They don't blame him for the actions of Gertrude and Absalom. The man who carries the bags says he works for Jarvis now, and that Margaret Jarvis is ill. Everyone joins in an impromptu service at the church, and Kumalo publicly asks God to forgive his sister and his son. The people kneel for his blessing. The new teacher suggests that they sing "God Save Africa," but aside from Kumalo, no one from Ndotsheni knows it yet. They don't have his vision. Kumalo and his friend talk of many things, including the daughter of Sibeko. Kumalo reports that Jarvis kindly left out the "I don't care" when he gave Barbara Smith's words in Zulu. Finally, Kumalo sits down with his wife. He gives her Msimangu's gift and then shares everything that has happened.



NOTE: THE SACRED BOOK AND THE BLESSING Kumalo's "sacred book" may be a Bible or a breviary, a priest's book composed of daily prayers and Bible passages. Or it could be The Book of Common Prayer, the book of Anglican worship services. The first few words of the blessing come from Numbers 6; the second half is from 2 Corinthians 13.

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Barron's Booknotes-Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
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