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Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country - A Biblical Parable Essay

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Cry, the Beloved Country, written by one of the greatest writers of South Africa, is the compelling story of how man-made evils in the city of Johannesburg affect the lives of each member of the Kumalo family. Stephen Kumalo, an old priest, has a major problem: he lost his brother, sister and son to the city. Losing them was one thing but later he is shocked to witness what his family has become. His brother, a politician and carpenter, has left the Church, his once decent sister has now moved on to become a prostitute and an alcoholic, but what he least expected was his own son committing crimes, such as robberies, and one going horribly bad. Naturalist writer, activist, and reformer Alan Paton has done an excellent job in showing the evils of the city. Not only has he done this, but in his writing Alan Paton uses Biblical references frequently. Throughout the novel we see characters changing and becoming more of a Christ or God figure. Through this style of writing, Paton has given South Africa a new, more modern Bible in which he teaches that one must love another in order for blacks and whites to live together.
In Cry, the Beloved Country, one sees many Biblical references such as names of characters, descriptions, and actions of characters. One may also notice a Christ figure emerging from the characters. In Cry, the Beloved Country one can surely see that Arthur Jarvis is a Christ figure in many ways. A Christ figure would be one that has suffered greatly, endured agony, recognized as a martyr, and is most likely betrayed. Arthur Jarvis fits perfectly in this category for he has several characteristics such as we mentioned above. For one he was determined to make a change, he made sure to pursue his aims at all t...


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...ves and finally understanding the problems of South Africa and trying to become united with the blacks, one can see that Mr. Jarvis is quintessential of a God figure.
Alan Paton did a wonderful job of using Biblical references in his magnificent novel. One can see this novel as a parable with a Christ and God figure easily. One can see that Arthur Jarvis resembled the Christ figure with all his agony, betrayal, and sacrifices while his father resembled the God figure, in that he embraced all and saved lives. Alan Paton is a magnificent author whose compelling novel which has many Biblical references in it surely enlightens one on what was occurring during this period of time. South Africa is progressing one step at a time and Alan Paton shows us this through this entrancing read.




Works Cited
Paton, Alan. Cry, the Beloved Country. New York, NY: Scribner, 2003


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