Cry the Beloved Nation
The novel Cry, the Beloved Nation consists of several themes, consisting of fear, reconciliation, hope, anger and personal duty. However, the theme that finest shapes the book is social breakdown and racial oppression in the neighborhood. Among the novel’s messages is that “inequality in human rights, living conditions, and individual empowerment based upon racial or ethnic distinctions are unfair and ultimately excruciating (Putnam 1). The novel accurately points out the racial and social oppression between the white farm owners and black workers, which in turn results in the social breakdown of the community.
The society depicted in the novel is a very unfair one, oftentimes divided on racial lines. The white individuals that concerned South Africa acted heartlessly towards the blacks who tried to make a living on the farms. When they arrived, the white men took most, if not all of the profitable farmland from the native black people. These actions resulted in the native blacks leaving their tribal villages and searching for other work in the huge city. An example of black locals leaving their land and looking for operate in the city is Absalom Kumalo, Son of Reverend Stephen Kumalo. Absalom left the rural countryside searching for work in Johannesburg.
Another person who went to the huge city was Gertrude Kumalo, sibling of Stephen. She went there in search of her hubby, who left the rural land to discover work in the gold mines. Both Absalom and Gertrude fell from grace when they transferred to Johannesburg, which results in the next theme of the unique, social breakdown. The outcome of all the racial oppressions taking place in South Africa was social breakdown. When the white men took all the successful farmland from the blacks and drove them off their people, native blacks lost the traditional social structures that gave them stability.
When the blacks transferred to Johannesburg, they rarely discovered work, and if they did, the salaries were usually insubstantial. The social breakdown started when the locals began trying to earn money illegitimately, either by theft, extortion, or prostitution. “The factor for the boost in crime rates amongst blacks was due to the poor living conditions and the breaking of the tribe by the white man” (Kramer, pg 4). 2 examples of an individual entering difficulty in Johannesburg are Absalom and Gertrude Kumalo. Absalom entered search of truthful labor, but succumbed to the temptations of making easy money by methods of break-in and other crime.
Gertrude on the other hand, went to the big city to find her other half, however wound up attempting to raise her son alone by bootlegging liquor and selling her body for sex. The best example of social breakdown is near completion of the novel, when Absalom shoots and kills a male throughout a break-in. This quote from the unique best sums up the factor for social breakdown: “The old tribal system was an ethical system. Our locals today produce wrongdoers and prostitutes and alcoholics not since it is their nature to do so, however because their simple system of order and tradition and convention has actually been destroyed.
It was ruined by the effect of our own civilization. Our civilization has for that reason an inescapable task to set up another system of order and custom and convention” (Chapter 20). In conclusion, racial injustice was the start of problems in South Africa. When the white males came over looking for land, they forced the natives off their farms, which for that reason made the blacks search for operate in the city, frequently causing misery and heartbreak. The social breakdown that took place took a toll on the lives of lots of natives, consisting of Absalom and Gertrude Kumalo.
Gertrude went to the city looking for her hubby, but never ever found him, and wound up being a prostitute. Absalom went to Johannesburg looking for wealth and success, however wound up killing a guy, which led to his own execution. Neither Absalom nor Gertrude found what they were searching for in the socially broken down city of Johannesburg; rather their lives deviated for the worst. Racial oppression and social breakdown are 2 things that are terrible for a neighborhood, which was portrayed throughout the novel, Cry, the Beloved Country.