Cry, the Beloved Country Topics for Discussion

This Study Guide consists of approximately 13 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Cry, the Beloved Country.
This section contains 426 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)

Topic 1

Compare and contrast Stephen and Absalom Kumalo’s relationship with James and Arthur Jarvis’. What lessons do the fathers learn from their sons? Are they the same? What does the novel say about the difference between the two generations? What lessons does the novel teach about family? Be sure to support your argument with examples from the text.

Topic 2

Compare John Kumalo’s use of his power to his own disparagement of tribal chief’s power. Do you think John is like a chief? Why or why not? Is he a hypocrite? Be sure to support your argument with examples from the text.

Topic 3

Discuss women’s roles in the society of the novel. Does the treatment of women differ from women’s roles and treatment in today’s society? Is it fair to judge the treatment of women by modern standards? Why or why not? Be sure to support your argument with examples from the text.

Topic 4

Do you think Stephen Kumalo is the true protagonist of the novel? Why or why not? If not, then who do you think undergoes the most change? Who is the protagonist? Make a strong argument for your protagonist, even if it is Stephen Kumalo, using examples from the text.

Topic 5

Napoleon Letsitsi wants blacks to be self-sufficient rather than relying on the charity of whites, while Stephen Kumalo gratefully accepts the assistance that James Jarvis and other whites offer him. Does the novel itself support one attitude over the other? How? Do you agree that this is the best way to achieve change in South Africa at that time? Why or why not? Be sure to support your argument with examples from the text.

Topic 6

Compare and contrast city life and rural life as they are presented in the novel. Does one come across as better than the other? What clues lead you to this conclusion? Do you think this is a fair and accurate assessment of the virtues and vices of each lifestyle? Why or why not? Be sure to support your argument with examples from the text.

Topic 7

Discuss the structure of the novel. How do the sections that step out of the main plot serve the story? How and why does the author occasionally use the first person (“we” and “us”) and second person (“you”)? Do you think these techniques are effective in drawing the reader more deeply and personally into the world of the novel? Why or why not? Be sure to support your argument with examples from the text.

This section contains 426 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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