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Essay Perception of God's Presence in Paton's Novel Cry, the Beloved Country

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Theoretically, the Bible states that God is always present alongside his people. “Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.” Matthew 28:20. In the novel, Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, conveys a message that God’s presence is both acknowledged and ignored by the characters and a message to “love thy brother as yourself” (Matthew 19:19) through forgiveness in spite of of skin color.
Foremost, Stephen Kumalo continuously seeks and lives in the presence of the Lord. Kumalo prays and asks God for help on a daily basis. “Tixo (God), watch over me, he says to himself. Tixo, watch over me (48).” Later, Kumalo’s prayers are answered and the readers can sense a Godly presence with Stephen. Stephen Kumalo is a relatively spiritually inclined priest, who devotes his time praying for his village of Ndotcheni. His devotion to the church, village and God makes God’s presence evident. This commitment helped “Kumalo to pray regularly in his church for the restoration of Ndotsheni (263).” Because Kumalo daily seeks out for God’s aid, His presence is continuously noted, felt or hinted; especially as the novel proceeds to include Kumalo’s constant connection to God. Even towards the end of the novel on page 257, after all of the troubles he faced, Stephen prays a prayer in front of the village. “Tixo,” he prayed “we give thanks to Thee for Thy unending mercy...” Overall, Kumalo heavily depends on God to aid with the problems he face and problems of others. He also uses God as a fundamental foundation on which he builds his faith and willpower to overcome approaching problems.
Unlike his brother Stephen, John Kumalo has stopped going to church, is not religious...


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...ds” and Kumalo’s response is “You are forgiven.” This example is does not quite give justice to Paton’s overall spiritual message to treat others with the same type of respect one would want to be treated through forgiveness regardless of skin tone. Above all, the greatest example is James Jarvis’ struggle to overcome his pride and selfishness to see Africa’s problems through his dead son’s eyes and make a difference in a fellow Christian brother’s life. Jarvis followed the biblical teaching of “loving thy neighbor as thyself” by forgiving Absalom regardless of the fact that Absalom is black.
All in all, God’s presence is never absent but can be ignored. Also, the characters that have a Godly presence tend to follow biblical teachings of forgiving others and treating each other with the respect and love God intended for every human despite the color of skin.



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