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Introduction Author Biography Plot Summary Characters Themes Style Historical Context Critical Overview Criticism Sources For Further Study Alan Paton1948 Alan Paton's novel exploded on the English reading public in 1948.
His son, Absalom, has also disappeared into the city, and Kumalo hopes to gain word of him as well.
After a long and intimidating journey by train and bus to Johannesburg, Kumalo visits a parish priest named Theophilus Msimangu who helps him to locate his sister.
Book I is presented through the eyes of the main character, Stephen Kumalo, a native priest in Ndotsheni, a small community in the Ixopo district of South Africa. There is a terrible drought that is forcing the young people of the region to leave their agricultural communities and to emigrate to Johannesburg to seek employment in the mines.
The loss of so many young people has undermined the tribal traditions, which cannot be maintained in a large urban setting like Johannesburg.
From his most famous novel of 1948, until his death by throat cancer in 1988, Alan Paton wrote novels, poems, nonfiction articles and biographies, spoke around the world, and remained a proponent of racial equality.
Cry, the Beloved Country consists of three sections, Books I, II, and III, each presenting a different point of view about the same events.At the same time as this novel's publication, Jan Hofmeyr died, and the National Party won the election.Apartheid policies were almost immediately enacted. The international success of Cry, The Beloved Country enabled Paton to be financially independent[Image not available for copyright reasons]as well as allowing him to write in opposition to the government and travel abroad.In 1942, he was appointed to an Anglican Diocesan Commission whose function was to report on church and race in South Africa.In the following year, he authored a series of articles on crime, punishment, and penal reform.Being known internationally as an author and spokesperson of the conditions in South Africa kept Paton out of trouble with the government.However, the government did confiscate his passport in 1960, not returning it until the early 1970s.At the age of twelve, he entered Maritzburg College (a secondary school).After graduating, he enrolled in courses at the University of Natal.The action begins with a letter that comes to Kumalo from Johannesburg, telling him that his sister, Gertrude Kumalo, is ill and needs his help.Kumalo consults with his wife and decides to use their meagre savings to go to the big city to help his sister.