Cry, the Beloved Country - Study Guide Chapters 18-19 Summary & Analysis

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This section contains 557 words
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Chapters 18-19 Summary

Book II opens with Chapter 18 at a location called High Place, in the hills above Ndotsheni, where James Jarvis has a large farm. Jarvis is plowing in his field above his house when he sees a car approaching from below. He recognizes the car as a police car from Ixopo, a nearby town, and he sees the police captain, a man named van Jaarsveld, and another officer get out of the car at his house. He watches as his wife comes out and directs the men up the hill.


The car approaches and stops and the officers walk to meet Jarvis in his field. The captain tells Jarvis he has bad news. Jarvis guesses that it is about his son, and that he is dead. Jarvis is devastated. He sits and tries to control his emotion. Van Jaarsveld tells him they have made arrangements for him and his wife to fly to Johannesburg right away. He did not tell Mrs. Jarvis the news on his way up, he informs Jarvis. The men return to the house and van Jaarsveld phones the airport while Jarvis tells his wife the news.


Chapter 19 opens as Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis arrive at the airport. They are met by John Harrison, the brother of Mary Jarvis, Arthur's wife. John Harrison takes them to the home of his parents, where Mary and her two children are staying. Shortly afterward they go to the mortuary to make arrangements for Arthur's burial. Returning to the house, Jarvis has a discussion with Mary's father about Arthur. Arthur was outspoken on the "native question," he informs Jarvis, and he had advised him to tone down his rhetoric lest he invite trouble at his job as a mine engineer. Jarvis states that he would like to see some of the things that his son had written on the subject.

Chapters 18-19 Analysis

Book II, which begins with Chapter 18, changes the dramatic center of the novel to James Jarvis, who is Kumalo's counterpart in the European world of South Africa. The opening paragraphs of Chapter 18 are almost identical to the opening of the first chapter. Paton emphasizes that these two men, Kumalo and Jarvis, come from almost exactly the same place and in many ways their lives are parallel, however their circumstances are widely different.

John Jarvis and his wife, Margaret, are introduced at the time they first learn about their son's death. They are quickly caught up in a whirlwind of activity and taken almost immediately to Johannesburg by airplane. This contrasts sharply with Kumalo's own trip to the city, which took a full day and was undertaken by cart, train and bus. Arthur Jarvis is also introduced, posthumously. In many ways he was as cut off from his former life in the country as much as Kumalo's son, but favored with an excellent education he has turned his attention to convincing other Europeans that they must take action themselves to rectify the wrongs they have perpetrated on the natives.

James Jarvis is not represented as having strong opinions one way or the other on the "native question." Paton presents two sides of the issue with the characters of Arthur Jarvis and Mr. Harrison. The discussion that ensues is critical in what will be James Jarvis' decision to help Ndotsheni.

This section contains 557 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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