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Cry, the Beloved Country Summary and Analysis of Book I, Chapters 7-12


Chapter Seven:

Gertrude assists Mrs. Lithebe around the house as Stephen has fun with the little kid. Msimangu takes Kumalo to see his brother, John, who has grown fat and sits “with his hands on his knees like a chief.” John initially does not acknowledge Stephen, however quickly they speak privately. John admits that his partner Esther has actually left him, and he is living with another female. John informs Stephen that back in Ndotsheni, he was subject to the chief, however in Johannesburg he has his own service: he may not be complimentary in Johannesburg, however he is at least devoid of the chief. John claims that it is here in Johannesburg that the new society is being constructed. John speaks loudly, as if he were offering a speech. Stephen inquires about Absalom, however John says that Absalom and his kid had a space in Alexandra and were working for a factory, Doornfontein Textiles Business. Msimangu says that the problems in between the whites and blacks will just be fixed when both groups do not prefer power nor cash, but only prefer the good of their country.

Stephen Kumalo is unsuccessful at Doornfontein, but they find out that Absalom had been pals with a worker, Dhlamini, who informs them that he last heard that Absalom was staying with a Mrs. Ndlela in Sophiatown. They find Mrs. Ndlela, and she provides a forwarding address, care of Mrs. Mkize in Alexandra. Mrs. Ndlela admits that Absalom left since she and her spouse did not like Absalom’s buddies, however she claims to have actually seen nothing.


John Kumalo supplies a stark contrast to his brother Stephen, representing a different and wholly contemporary set of worths that encounter Stephen’s insistence on conservatism and family. John Kumalo turns down any sense of traditional morality, dismissing ideas of fidelity and finding religions to be antiquated, and more significantly he approaches the changes in South African society as an enhancement. In contrast to Stephen, he thinks that the tribe is a dangerous and autocratic body that was always destroyed; living under white rule John understands that he is not free, however John thinks himself at least based on a less oppressive authority than a chief. Paton even makes the notable comparison between John and a chief; in essence, John has handled the authority that he now derides. In his worths and viewpoints John thus comes to represent modernism in Cry, the Beloved Nation, the archetype of the successful entrepreneur and political leader.

With the exception of John Kumalo’s hard realism, the conversation of the political situation in South Africa remains problematic. While John Kumalo’s satisfied state is quickly described, given that he holds one of the few positions of power amongst the blacks of Johannesburg, the political prescriptions given by Msimangu appear deluded and difficult, as he rests his expect the country on a common rejection of self-interest and ambition.

The look for Absalom starts to take a disturbing turn in this chapter, as Kumalo and Msimangu travel from location to place in order to find him, however discover just a different forwarding address at each turn. This creates the sense that Absalom lives an aimless life, while the reference of Mrs. Ndlela’s displeasure of his good friends acts as a bit of foreshadowing and promotes the concept that Absalom may be associated with unsavory activities that have actually kept him far from his family.

Chapter 8:

Msimangu and Kumalo set off to take the bus over to Alexandra, but on the way a man stops them to encourage them not to take the bus, for there is a boycott till the price of bus fare is reduced to four-pence again. This male is the well-known Dubula, part of the great trio of black Johannesburg politics: John Kumalo is the voice, Dubula is the heart, Tomlinson is the brains. Msimangu and Kumalo begin on the eleven mile walk, adhering to the boycott. Msimangu narrates about how a white female knocked on a male’s door after she had actually been attacked and raped. They reach the house of Mrs. Mkize, who states that Absalom must have been gone a year now. She is certainly afraid, so they leave, but Msimangu informs Kumalo to get a beverage and he turns back to your house. He informs Mrs. Mkize that he is not from the authorities, and exists just to assist Kumalo find his boy, and he swears that no damage will come of her for telling what she needs to tell. Mrs. Mkize admits that Absalom and his buddies would typically revive clothing and watches and money in the middle of the night. She tells him to talk to the taxi-driver Hlabeni, who was pals with Absalom. Msimangu and Kumalo find this cabby, and pay him eleven shillings to take them back to Johannesburg. Before they go, Msimangu asks Hlabeni about Absalom, and he says that he heard that Absalom went to Orlando and lives amongst the squatters in Shanty Town. En route back to Johannesburg, Msimangu and Kumalo view individuals riding bikes and walking because they can not take the bus. They enjoy a car driven by a white male that the authorities stop because he is carrying black travelers. The white man confronts the police and dares them to take him to court. Kumalo smiles at this, for such an act is not lightly done, however Msimangu claims that this generosity “beats” him.


This chapter continues the pattern of previous chapters, alternating between information worrying Johannesburg politics and plot points concerning the search for Absalom Kumalo. The boycott of the bus service is perhaps the most substantial of these political developments, for Paton finds the significant issues with the situation of blacks in South Africa within the economic sphere instead of the sphere of political rights. Yet when again, he discovers the plight of whites in South Africa worthy of equal if not greater attention than the condition of blacks. Yet another story about crime in South Africa concentrates on a white as a victim of blacks, while the critical example of heroism in this chapter includes the action of a white guy as he defies the authorities and help the blacks in their boycott. The response of Kumalo to this incident is one of unabashed happiness and approval, while Msimangu takes a more unclear reaction. Paton gives no interpretation of his puzzling remark “it beats me,” permitting multiple analyses of Msimangu’s viewpoint over the occurrence.

The condition of Absalom Kumalo becomes more serious as this chapter advances, as Kumalo and Msimangu travel from one location to another looking for the missing child, at each point finding out more troubling details worrying Absalom’s life. The incident with Mrs. Mkize boosts earlier remarks by Mrs. Ndlela as it becomes more obvious that Absalom is associated with a life of crime. These criminal offenses are major, as shown by Mrs. Mkize’s terrified reaction to concerns. Paton shows that Absalom’s actions are severe and severe by this reaction; awful things might occur to her as a result of Absalom’s actions, and considering her distant position to Absalom, his criminal activities must be fantastic undoubtedly.

The dynamic between Stephen Kumalo and Reverend Msimangu becomes completely understood in this chapter, the most full expression of the relationship that the 2 men have. It is Msimangu who is worldly and diplomatic, able to deal with the frightened Mrs. Mkize, while Stephen Kumalo has a more simplistic and single-minded attitude and can not consider all of the implications of his actions since of his preoccupation with his quest for his kid.

Chapter 9:

Johannesburg is the location for everybody, white or black, who should look for a task or conceal a pregnancy or escape for some reason. Finding housing in Johannesburg is beside difficult, and the waiting list for homes includes a number of thousand names. In Orlando, a Shanty Town has actually been developed nearly over night. In this Shanty Town, children struggle with illness, and Dubula must schedule medical professionals. When white men very first concerned Shanty Town, they do so to take photos, however when more blacks pertain to Shanty Town from other locations, white males return out of anger and the cops drive the people away.


Alan Paton leaves from the quest of Stephen Kumalo in this chapter to describe the conditions of Shanty Town and the way in which it happened. The Shanty Town develops mainly out of the prohibitive real estate conditions in Johannesburg along with the extreme poverty of its occupants, but the efforts of politicians such as Dubula make life at Shanty Town more tasty. For the first time, Paton leaves from his sensitive treatment of the whites in South Africa to prosecute them for their actions; in blaming the whites for the police action that forces the elimination of the Shanty Town population, Paton takes his first step toward a definitive political declaration.

Chapter 10:

While Kumalo waits for Msimangu to take him to Shanty Town, he spends time with Gertrude and her boy. Gertrude can not speak with Stephen about her issues, however can discuss them with Mrs. Lithebe. Stephen therefore relies on the little kid for enjoyment, but even in these minutes of satisfaction he remembers his kid.

Msimangu takes Kumalo to Shanty Town, and shows him a building that he credits to Dubula’s work. He points out nurses that have been trained by white nurses, and points out the recent enrollment of blacks in the European University of the Witwatersrand for medical school. A nurse points them to Mrs. Hlatshwayos, who informs them that Absalom stayed with her due to the fact that he had no location to go, but the magistrate sent him to the reformatory. Kumalo and Msimangu therefore check out the reformatory, where a white male tells them that Absalom was given leave partially because of etiquette, partly due to the fact that he got a woman pregnant. Absalom is not married, but whatever is scheduled a marriage. He is now in Pimville. The white male takes them to Pimville, and they satisfy the lady, who admits that Absalom went to Springs on Saturday and has not yet returned. Msimangu cautions Kumalo that he can do nothing, but Kumalo says that her child will be his grandchild. Msimangu replies that he does not understand that. The white guy learns that Absalom has actually not been at work today. After they leave, Msimangu excuses his habits towards Kumalo, and Kumalo takes this as an understanding that they ought to see the woman once again.


The look for Absalom Kumalo continues however stays unsuccessful as Stephen Kumalo and Msimangu go from contact to get in touch with. The extension of this search enables Paton to provide a broader view of the conditions in South Africa, as Kumalo receives a complete tour of the different locations of Johannesburg. Shanty Town is amongst the worst of the locations, an impoverished area where the homeless remain, yet Paton steps back from the political critique that marked the previous chapter and concentrates on the few improvements in Shanty Town. Rather of residence on the poverty of the area, Paton details the brand-new training of black nurses and the enrollment of blacks in European medical schools and likewise admires Dubula for effecting the building and construction of a brand-new structure in the area.

The white worker at the reformatory is a more considerable character in the unique than his lack of a name may indicate. He is representative of the white characters that Kumalo satisfies on his journeys through Johannesburg; kind, useful and considerate toward Kumalo, and even approaching nerve at a later point in the novel. This is necessary because it shows Paton’s biased view of South Africa; he information the poverty and the problems of the nation, but practically ignores the bigotry that is among the reasons for these problems.

The meeting between Kumalo, Msimangu and the girl serves to show both Kumalo’s unerring compassion and sense of duty and bolster Msimangu’s higher suspicion. Kumalo right away takes obligation for the woman, even though he can not make sure that she is pregnant with Absalom’s kid, while Msimangu suggests that Kumalo run with a great degree of doubt. This marks the terrific contrast between the rural pastor and the urban clergyman.

The news concerning Absalom continues to foreshadow a devastating fate for the errant boy. While Absalom acted well at the reformatory, the really truth that he was sentenced to a reformatory does not bode well for him, while the reality that he has actually been missing out on recommend the existence of problems that will drive the plot of the second phase of the book.

Chapter Eleven:

Msimangu informs Kumalo that the male at the reformatory will do a better look for Absalom than he can, and that he needs to go to Ezenzeleni, the place of the blind, to hold a service for them, but he will return 2 days later on. At supper at the Objective House, there is news of another murder: a widely known city engineer was shot, allegedly by locals. The murder victim, Arthur Jarvis, was a bold boy according to one priest: he was the President of the African Young Boys’ Club, and the boy of James Jarvis of Carisbrooke. Arthur Jarvis was renowned for his interest in social issues and for his efforts for the welfare of the non-European areas of the community.


The murder of Arthur Jarvis is the central problem of this chapter, and proves to be the turning point of the book. The significance of this occasion can not be underestimated, even as Paton leaves the real connection in between Jarvis and Kumalo somewhat uncertain at this moment. Nevertheless, it is very important to keep in mind the foreshadowing in this chapter. Throughout Cry, the Beloved Country, Paton pays little attention to developing a number of the characters of the unique, even failing to give names to a lot of the more considerable characters. That he devotes considerable area to these events and the history of Arthur Jarvis suggests that his fate plays a crucial function in the book.

The murdered Arthur Jarvis is yet another example of the worthy European characters who pervade Cry, the Beloved Nation. It is significant to note that it is not a well-known racist who was eliminated by natives, however a renowned social reformer. This negates any possibility for any hard political material: the murder of Arthur Jarvis becomes bleakly ironic, but also ends up being so ridiculous that no character can justify it by any methods. Paton hence develops a chance to review the white treatment of native South Africans, but then cuts off any possibility for such a conversation.

Chapter Twelve:

This chapter takes place during a conference in which a Mr. McLaren reads a resolution mentioning that “we will always have native criminal activity to fear until the native individuals of this nation have worthy purposes to motivate them and deserving objectives to work for.” A Mr. de Villiers suggests that increased schooling centers would trigger a decrease in juvenile delinquency. Some lament the cutting up of South African into separate locations where white can live without black and black without white. There are hundreds of cries, but there is also the question of what needs to be done when these sobs dispute. Whites fear not just the loss of their belongings, but the loss of their supremacy.

Mrs. Ndlela finds Msimangu and claims that the authorities have actually been to her, wishing to know about Absalom. She questions whether she did something wrong, but he reassures her that she was ideal to promote the law. Msimangu relates this to Kumalo, but neither have any idea why they would wish to see Absalom. The authorities retrace Kumalo’s journey for Absalom, from Shanty Town to Pimville. Kumalo sees the girl once more, and asks if the police have been there, but she does not know why they desired him either. She admits that the matter seemed heavy.


Alan Paton utilizes the first area of this chapter to discuss the problems of South Africa through the description of a conference in which these issues are talked about. Numerous of these problems are just peripheral to the actual disputes of the book. The most apparent of these issues is the among apartheid, which had not been instituted at the time of the book’s publication however was obviously talked about. Nevertheless, Paton discusses these problems from a simply white perspective, the majority of substantially in the case of native criminal activity. There is no conversation of criminal activity against the locals, just worries over the status and safety of whites.

Paton continues to recommend the fate of Absalom in this chapter, in which Kumalo finds out that the cops have been searching for Absalom as well. This greater suggests a connection between the murder of Arthur Jarvis and the place of Absalom. Absalom’s guilt in the murder of Arthur Jarvis is certainly constant with his habits and the reason that the young man is so elusive; he is not simply a transient, but instead is concealing in order to escape the authorities.

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