Book 1, Chapter 17 Notes from Cry, The Beloved Country

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Cry, The Beloved Country Book 1, Chapter 17

Mrs. Lithebe thinks about the suffering and kindness of Kumalo. She pities him, and knows he is a good man. He asks her to let him bring the girl to stay in the house, and she simply says, "Why else do we live?" Chapter 17, pg. 119 The girl is very happy to be in the house, but she and Gertrude sometimes laugh together in a careless way. Mrs. Lithebe cautions her against this: she does not want Kumalo to be hurt anymore, and is afraid the girl will disappoint him. The girl understands immediately and promises to be more careful.

Kumalo goes again to see his son. Matthew and the other boy are denying that they were at the murder scene, and Absalom is angry and frightened. He is happy to be getting a lawyer, and to be able to marry the girl. But Stephen will not leave him alone: he wants to show him how stupid he was to have such friends. He asks over and over why Absalom would have such friends, forcing him to reveal his foolish choices. "Old man, leave him alone. You lead him so far and then you spring upon him." Chapter 17, pg. 122 Absalom is afraid for his life. Mr. Carmichael, the lawyer, comes to see Absalom, and Stephen must leave.

Later, when Kumalo and Father Vincent are having tea, Mr. Carmichael comes to see them. He tells them that he is taking the case pro deo. He believes that Absalom shot Arthur out of fear, not meaning to kill him. He will try to convince the judge that the other boys were there as well. In private, Kumalo asks what the case will cost. When he learns that pro deo means that it will cost nothing, he is in awe of the unbelievable kindness of Mr. Carmichael, a white man.

Topic Tracking: Kindness 7

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