Notes on Cry, The Beloved Country Themes

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Cry, The Beloved Country Topic Tracking: Redemption

Book 1, Chapter 3

Redemption 1: Kumalo is upset with himself for lying to the people around him, pretending that he is more sophisticated than he is. He is also worried about whether what he will find in Johannesburg might be beyond help. He reads his bible in the hope that it will set him, an imperfect man, on the right path, and it calms his spirit.

Book 1, Chapter 5

Redemption 2: Kumalo and Msimangu talk honestly about Kumalo's family's problems, and though at first he is ashamed, it makes him feel better. Msimangu tells him that the real problem is not what the white man has done to the natives, but the fact that the natives have not been able to recover. Msimangu believes that the answer lies not in rebuilding the tribe, but in deciding what to do now that the tribe is gone.

Book 1, Chapter 6

Redemption 3: Gertrude wants to change her life, though she is afraid that it is too late for her. Still, she wants her son to have a better life, and knows that her brother will try to make this happen. At first, Stephen is very angry with her, but once he sees that she is trying to change, he is able to forgive her, and they reunite through prayer.

Book 1, Chapter 7

Redemption 4: Kumalo is beginning to realize that, despite the shame he feels about his sister and brother's sins, Msimangu's kindness heals those wounds. Though both of them are more inclined to keep their problems private, they are starting to see that talking to friends helps them.

Book 1, Chapter 10

Redemption 5: Just talking about Ndotsheni makes Kumalo feel good, and hearing him talk so lovingly makes Gertrude and her son feel good as well. When he is reminded of places he loves, he finds the strength to face what he hates and fears. The love of his land heals him.

Book 1, Chapter 13

Redemption 6: Looking out on his homeland and then listening to Msimangu's preaching, Kumalo is restored. His spirit is lifted, and the worries of every day life can not touch him as deeply as before. His love for the land, and the love he hears in Msimangu's voice, remind him of the simplest joy and beauty.

Book 1, Chapter 15

Redemption 7: Father Vincent tries to help Kumalo see that there is always hope for change, but right now, Kumalo feels hopeless. Vincent tries to explain that while fear holds one in prison, sorrow at least allows one to decide what to do. Sorrow can be rebuilt into joy. Kumalo begins to see it.

Book 1, Chapter 16

Redemption 8: Kumalo finds some relief for his pain in his compassion for the girl. He begins to see that acting well in the small ways he can, rather than worrying foolishly over things he cannot change, will bring him and those around him out of the darkness.

Book 2, Chapter 22

Redemption 9: There seems to be some hope left for Absalom, because he promised himself, before he was even caught, that he would never do anything bad again, or lie again. He seems to be following this rule, because he is taking full responsibility for what he has done. However, he says that he is trying to do good now because he is in trouble, so it is unclear whether he is truly serious about it or not.

Book 2, Chapter 24

Redemption 10: James seems to find strength in his son's words of conviction. He no longer feels anguished over Arthur's death, he simply tries to understand his son's mind-which means understanding issues he has never thought about before. When he leaves the house by the back door, it seems that he is now walking a new path in his life.

Book 2, Chapter 29

Redemption 11: The double good deeds of Msimangu and James produce redemption on both sides. James pours his heart into helping the natives, thus forgiving his son's killer and continuing his son's work, while easing his own heart and lessening the damage done by Absalom. He has not allowed hate and fear to generate hate and fear. Msimangu, meanwhile, does everything he can to bring Kumalo out of his own prison of grief, at the same time connecting with God through his good deed.

Book 3, Chapter 30

Redemption 12: Kumalo is healed by the welcome of his village, and by praying in his own church. He is especially comforted by admitting the sins of his family, which shame him, in front of all his congregation. Once he has done it, these sins do not seem so horrible anymore, and it seems that a new life can begin.

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