Cry, the Beloved Country - Study Guide Chapters 23-25 Summary & Analysis

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Chapters 23-25 Summary

Chapter 23 describes the optimism among white South Africans that gold has been discovered in new area of the country called Odendaalsrust. Shares in the mining company that discovered it skyrocket and there is a general feeling among the whites that South Africa has a prosperous future. They envision a second city the size of Johannesberg growing out of the increased wealth. Paton ends the chapter with the remark that one Johannesberg is enough.

In Chapter 24, Jarvis returns to his son's house and reads more of his writing. In one essay, he is angered to read his son's words about his childhood. He had been taught well by his parents, he wrote, but had learned nothing of the truth about South Africa. In the essay, Arthur Jarvis promises to devote his life to the "service of South Africa" (p. 208) out of his sense that the native people have been wronged and that things must be set right. Jarvis is moved by these words and he sits and ponders them for a while before leaving the house again.

Chapter 25 describes the chance meeting of Kumalo and Jarvis. Jarvis and his wife have gone to the home of one of Mrs. Jarvis' nieces in the neighborhood of Springs. While Mrs. Jarvis and her niece go out, Jarvis remains at the house and reads the papers. As it turns out, the niece had once employed the daughter of the man Sibeko in Ndotsheni, who Kumalo had promised to look for. Kumalo comes to the house in Springs looking for the woman and is shocked to find Jarvis there.

Jarvis doesnot recognize Kumalo, but is concerned that the man seems weak or sick. Kumalo is trembling in shock. He tells Jarvis he is looking for a woman from Ndotsheni, and Jarvis answers, in Zulu, that he comes from Ndotsheni himself. Kumalo is still trembling and Jarvis asks him why he seems so afraid. Kumalo finally tells him "It was my son that killed your son." (p. 214)

Jarvis is not angry. He and Kumalo talk briefly about Arthur. Kumalo tells him he remembers the bright young boy who used to ride past the church.

Soon Jarvis' niece returns and tells them that the daughter of Sibeko no longer worked for her, that she had been fired. Kumalo thanks them and leaves, still shaken.

Chapters 23-25 Analysis

Chapter 23 is another aside that is addressed directly to the reader, and which describes the economic conditions that contribute to the oppression of the black South Africans. Much of the economy is based on the mining of gold, and when a new rich mine is opened, many speculators become wealthy. Their wealth is only possible because of the exploitation of native workers, however, and Paton points out the injustice. He asks whether money is for waving around in display or for buying the necessities of life such as food, clothing and shelter.

In Chapter 24, Jarvis' transformation continues as he returns to his son's home and reads more of his essays. In Chapter 25, a dramatic meeting between Kumalo and Jarvis takes place by complete coincidence. Of the two of them, only Kumalo is fully aware of the situation, that it is his son who has murdered Jarvis' son. Jarvis is shocked at the connection that Kumalo reveals, but he is not angry or upset with Kumalo. The outcome of the meeting foreshadows the strained yet meaningful relationship the men will develop once they both return to Ndotsheni.

This section contains 588 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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