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Free Study Guide-Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton-Free Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 17

Summary

Mrs. Lithebe is a kind, Christian soul, though she was not willing to let her house. She willingly does so for the old priest. She sympathizes with the suffering priest and readily accommodates his sister and nephew and also his to be daughter in-law, when Kumalo request her. The young girl brought to Mrs. Lithebeís house adapts herself fairly well to the norms and customs of a decent household, under the loving guidance of Mrs. Lithebe.

Kumalo visit his son in the prison, again. The young manís friends have denied being present with Absalom; Absalom is crushed by their denial. Kumalo tells Absalom that he is thinking of arranging a lawyer for him, at the mention of this Absalomís lifeless eyes lighten up. Kumalo asks him whether he would like to marry the young girl. Absalom says that he is ready to. Kumalo returns to Mission House and meets a lawyer, Mr. Carmichael at Father Vincentís room. Mr. Carmichael asks Kumalo to submit a detailed account of his son. Kumalo is worried about the monetary aspect of hiring a lawyer, but Father Vincent tells him that Mr. Carmichael is taking his case for God. This implies that he would charge nothing. Kumalo is deeply touched by the lawyerís kindness.


Notes

The last chapter of the fast book is divided into four sections to give a comprehensive picture of Kumaloís status quo before the second book begins. The reader is given appraisals of Kumalo and implicitly of Mrs. Lithebeís as well. Mrs. Lithebe describes Kumalo as cast in the mold of suffering this description underscores the connection betwixt Kumalo and St. Stephen.

The next section unleashes a contrast between Gertrude and the young girl. Mrs. Lithebe frequently chastises Gertrude for careless laughter and her involvement with men. However, Gertrude being older women, is incorrigible and though she may try hard, she canít change her tawdry ways. The young girl on the other hand, through not unaffected by the sleaziness of the slums, is still a child and maybe she is more open to rejuvination. This vital difference between the two is more overtly seen takes in Gertrudeís failure to renounce the temptations of the sordid city life and her subsequent re-absorption into it.

Third section shifts the fours from the ladies of Kumaloís family to his son. Kumaloís second meeting with his son, is significantly different from his first. Whereas the first meeting reflected a great deal of stiffness, now one sees the ice-melting; warmth is conveyed not only in Kumaloís reassuring words but also the caress of his hand which puts sparks of life in Absalomísí lifeless hands. The fourth section introduce us to Mr. Carmichael, a kind and honest man who is aware of the black manís suffering and hence agrees to help Kumalo in the name of God. White men like him Father Vincent and the young man from the reformatory that there are a lot of sensitive whites who wish to rectify the harm done to the natives unfortunately such whites are hampered by the racist attitude of the Government.

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