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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

BOOK III

CHAPTER 1

Summary

Kumalo arrives at the station, nearest to Ndotsheni. His wife and a friend have come to receive them. Kumalo introduces his wife to their daughter-in-law. The eagerness of the young girl to live a homely life with them touches the mother immensely. The villagers flock to meet Kumalo, they tell him, how much they missed him. Kumalo is deeply stirred by the warm reception.

Kumalo steps into his church, the humble village choir sings thanksgiving hymns, pouring their heart and soul into it. Kumalo prays to God to forgive the trespasses of his sister, his daughter- in-law and his son. He makes a clean break of everything, by publicly confessing the trespasses of his family. Ndotsheni loves his passion and, therefore, in spite of everything, he stands undiminished in respect and love.

Kumalo tells his friend, what he had gathered about Sibelco’s daughter. After his friend departs, Kumalo enters his house and speaks to his wife about the various things that happened and the people he met in Johannesburg. He hands her the money that Msimangu had given him.


Notes

The native returns home, and with him the focus transpires to Ndotsheni and into problems. There is a reverse drought in the valley, which is symbolic of a spiritual draught in South Africa - a country torn apart by racial apartheid and injustice. The parched and fissured land of Ndotsheni is emblematic of the clearing of the tribal unit. Rain and water are the archetypal symbols for love, rejuvenation and purification, and the withdrawal of them symbolize death and the curse of God. Ndotsheni, is dying of abuse and neglect, but is not spiritually dead. That purity and love are still present in the village is obvious from Kumalo’s confession before the entire village and the villagers understanding of Kumalo’s suffering, and their respect and affection for him, in spite of everything.

There comes out from this chapter, the idea of unity that yokes the villagers together, in spite of all their hardships. This sense of unity is conspicuously missing in the city, where the people are aloof and divided, hence lonely and frustrated. Another truism that the reader learns just as Kumalo learns is that love and forgiveness can compensate for pain and suffering.

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