Cry, the Beloved Country - Study Guide Chapters 35-36 Summary & Analysis

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Chapters 35-36 Summary

Chapter 35 describes the work being done in Ndotsheni. The villagers have been reluctant to adopt the new methods of Letsitsi, but with the enforcement of the chief, they have started to change the ways they farm so that the land is not so depleted. In a frank discussion with Kumalo, Letsitsi tells him that even once the land has returned to full production there will not be enough to support all the children of the village. Kumalo is aware of this, and it saddens him.

Chapter 36 is the final chapter, and it takes place on the 14th of the month. Absalom is to be executed the following morning. Kumalo tells his wife he intends to go up to a nearby mountain where he has gone a few times before to think and pray. She makes him a simple meal and says she will not go because it is near the time for Absalom's wife to give birth.

Kumalo begins walking up the path that leads to the mountain and after dark meets up with Jarvis, who is riding pat on his horse. Jarvis asks how things are going with Letsitsi and Kumalo thanks him for bringing the man to the village. Jarvis tells Kumalo he is moving to Johannesburg, but will be back to Ndotsheni to continue his work. He will soon have plans for the new church sent to Kumalo. They speak about Jarvis' grandson and how much he is like the young Arthur. They part, and Kumalo continues up to the mountain where he sits on a large rock looking out over the valley to the east. He thinks about the village and its people and how he was welcomed back. He falls a sleep for a time and wakes as the morning begins to break. He prays and eats, knowing that the time of his son's execution is not far off. As the sun rises, he takes off his hat and stands quietly watching.

Chapters 35-36 Analysis

Chapter 35 provides some optimism about the future of Ndotsheni, but it is tempered by the practical words of Letsitsi who understands Kumalo's dream of halting the flight of young people to the cities. Even when it is restored, the land will not support a growing population, he tells Kumalo. The larger implication suggested by the author is that even though small improvements like those in the village are crucial, change must take place on a national scale.

Chapter 36 is the final chapter, ending on the day Absalom is to be executed. The night before, Kumalo and Jarvis have another short encounter as Kumalo walks up the hills to be alone. Jarvis is reserved as they speak, but respectful and understanding of Kumalo's sorrow. Kumalo continues up the mountain and reflects on the recent events. He confesses his sins to God and prays for his son. Although it is a solemn and sad episode, Paton mixes in a glimmer of optimism as Kumalo looks out upon the rising sun.

This section contains 506 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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