Book 1, Chapter 14 Notes from Cry, The Beloved Country

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Cry, The Beloved Country Book 1, Chapter 14

Back in Sophiatown, Gertrude is selling her old belongings when the young man from the reformatory and Msimangu come up the walk. Stephen is terrified at what news they might bring, but he greets them. They tell him that Absalom did indeed murder Arthur Jarvis-though he was with two other boys, one of whom is Matthew Kumalo. Kumalo is anguished. He wants to go to see his brother, then to prison to see his son. He asks Msimangu to linger behind him for a moment, and tell Gertrude and Mrs. Lithebe the news. The women wail and sob, according to their custom.

His brother John is as jovial and self-important as always, until Stephen gives him the news. John is afraid, and drops his happy attitude. He is concerned about his own son. "Have no doubt it is fear in his eyes." Chapter 14, pg. 96 They go together with the young man and Msimangu to the prison. There, they are taken to separate rooms. Kumalo cries, holding his son, but Absalom seems unhappy and uncomfortable. He will only agree quietly with everything his father says. He says that he confessed when he was approached by the police. He tells his father that Matthew and another boy were with him. Stephen demands to know why he was carrying a gun, and asks many more questions, but Absalom cannot answer him or defend himself. He begins to cry, but it is unclear whether he cries for himself or for the people he has hurt. The young white man tries to act indifferent, but he is pained. Kumalo will not leave his son alone: he demands to know why. Absalom tells him it was the other boys' fault, or it was the devil. He finally agrees to marry the girl. Outside, Stephen meets his brother, who reveals his plan: he will hire a lawyer to convince the court that Matthew was not at the crime scene. He says, "You see, my brother, there is no proof that my son or this other young man was there at all." Chapter 14, pg. 101 Stephen is shocked, and the young man is so depressed and angered by this scene that he lashes out at Stephen, telling him that working at the reformatory is as noble as working as a priest. He drives away, and John too leaves his brother standing alone. Stephen remembers that Father Vincent offered to help him, so he decides to go to Father Vincent.

Topic Tracking: Kindness 4

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