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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 6

Summary

Under the supervision of the agricultural demonstrator, the villagers begin plowing the fields. The preparations for the construction of the dam are afoot and the villagers are all agog about it.

Kumalo is grateful to Mr. Jarvisí for all his kindness. However, the agricultural demonstrator differs and says that the natives should not feel grateful to the whites because whatever the whites are doing for them is only repayment. He also remarks that one works not for money but for the land and the people. Kumalo is deeply stirred by the young manís profound thoughts and his dedication.


Notes

The chapter brings to light another selfless and dedicated man, Napoleon Letsitsi, the agricultural instructor. He is like his famous namesake, Napoleon Bonaparte in his own right. He is assertive and successful in making the impatient and skeptical villagers understand that reconstruction was a gradual process and that they must not expect overnight results. He is a man of strong and clear ideas and places premium on truth and honesty alone. He tells them he has learned that a man does not work merely for money, but for the land and its people. In keeping with this lesson, the young instructor is working hard to restore the valley. He is of the opinion that the white manís kindness is only compensation of what he has done in the past. However, Kumalo who has been to Johannesburg and witnessed the selfless concern of some whites differs from him. Kumalo passes on to him the profound mantra - Ďhate no man, and desire power over no man,í for hate and desire corrupt - as he has seen his brother, John Kumalo corrupted. The demonstrator does not nurse hate or unhealthy desire; it is he and people like him who hold the key to change the face of South Africa.

CHAPTER 7

Summary

The day before Absalom is to be hanged Kumalo goes to the mountains to communicate with God and plead him to forgive his erring son. On the way he meets Mr. Jarvis, the later tells him that he will be leaving High Place and intends to settle down in Johannesburg with his sonís family. Jarvis compassion moves Kumalo to tears and he openly weeps before him.

After Jarvis departs, Kumalo sits on a rock and prays to God. He brings to mind all his sins and also offers his thanksgiving. Kumalo drifts to reverie, pondering over the mysteries of life, little kindness, restoration of Africa, about his son, who may be dying at that moment. Kumalo prays earnestly putting his very being into it after which he opens his eyes. It is dawn in Ndotsheni, but Africa waits for the dawn that will emancipate it from the dark of bondage and the blackness of fear.

Notes

The day prior to Absalomís execution, Kumalo goes to the mountains. This action reminds us of King David, who secluded himself to lament and cry, "O my sun Absalom, my son my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom my son, my son!"

The meeting with Jarvis shows the understanding that has evolved between Kumalo and Jarvis. Although, they do not speak much, they seem to understand each otherís grief. Jarvis steps down to console Kumalo, this is something not done lightly, reiterates the author again and again. The comment explains that no matter how much the two men feel for one another, they cannot get closer than this, for there is a racial pattern of white supremacy and black inferiority, which distances them. Paton is suggesting that unless this racial pattern is removed, the two races will continue to dwell like islands in an archipelago together but detached. And, the demolition of the color wall must happen soon, else the mounting hatred and fear will confirm Msimanguís prophecy that by the time the whites realize this mistake and amend their attitude, the blacks will be at the end of the rope. The novel ends on a hope-filled note that someday it will be dawn, and the darkness of fear and bondage will be dispelled.

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