Notes on Cry, The Beloved Country Themes

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Cry, The Beloved Country Topic Tracking: Kindness

Book 1, Chapter 5

Kindness 1: Msimangu believes that loving compassion is the only thing that will save South Africa. He knows it is more powerful than any other emotion, because it is unselfish, but he knows how fragile love is, and how difficult it is to be kind to and forgive those who hurt you. He is afraid that white people might take so long to bring justice to South Africa that by the time they do black South Africans will hate them.

Book 1, Chapter 8

Kindness 2: Kumalo and Msimangu see white people helping black people on the street, driving them places because of the bus boycott. Kumalo is deeply pleased, because he knows this is an important step. Msimangu is moved almost beyond words.

Book 1, Chapter 13

Kindness 3: Though Msimangu has just inspired a large crowd of people, he will take no compliments. He only tells Kumalo that he has been trying desperately to help him, and is thankful that his spiritual words have been successful.

Book 1, Chapter 14

Kindness 4: John is afraid only for himself and his son, but Stephen sees his suffering and feels nothing but pity and sympathy for him. In fact, it makes him forget his own suffering for a while.

Book 1, Chapter 15

Kindness 5: Like Msimangu, Father Vincent is unself-consciously kind. He wants only to help ease Kumalo's suffering, and to help him know God. Though he hardly knows the man, and they are very different people, he devotes himself to helping Kumalo.

Book 1, Chapter 16

Kindness 6: Though he is sometimes sidetracked by his own fear and pain, Kumalo pours his heart into helping the girl. He remembers the kindness of Father Vincent, as he prepares to bring the girl to a happier place than she has ever known.

Book 1, Chapter 17

Kindness 7: Kumalo, who has learned to expect little from people, especially white people, is awestruck at the kindness of Mr. Carmichael. This is one of his first encounters with kindness that comes from a desire for justice: Mr. Carmichael is not being kind because he likes Kumalo-he does not even know him-he is being kind because he believes it is the right thing to do.

Book 2, Chapter 25

Kindness 8: James Jarvis has never thought much about natives, but the more he reads about his son's crusade for racial justice, the more he feels compelled to be kind to people of all races. When Kumalo tells him that his son killed James' son, James is not angry-in fact, he sees that Kumalo is torn apart by what has happened, and feels deeply moved. He is a powerful, intimidating man, but he tries only to help Kumalo feel less afraid of him.

Book 2, Chapter 29

Kindness 9: Stephen goes to John, who has hurt him so much, with nothing but compassion in his heart. But when he sees that his brother is a clever, selfish liar, he cannot resist hurting him. Even though he only points out what John himself has done, when John throws him out of the shop, it is Stephen who feels guilty. He would like to have a limitless capacity for kindness.

Kindness 10: Jarvis and Msimangu offer parallel kindnesses: they each give a large sum of money to a good cause, and they are both happy to do it. They also both do it in a modest way: Jarvis makes Harrison wait until he is gone to open the envelope, so he won't have to accept thanks. Msimangu rejects any idea that he is a good man: he believes God is acting through him, that is all.

Book 3, Chapter 31

Kindness 11: When Arthur's son is received kindly by Kumalo, he listens to his host's troubles and takes pity on him. He tells James, his grandfather, to bring milk to the village, and without questioning the situation, James does it. He has committed himself to a life of kindness, and the boy is a further link between Kumalo and James.

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