Tuesday, 20 March 2012

PATON, Alan (1999), Cry, the Beloved Country, C1, 3000 Headwords, Penguin Readers 

By Javier García Navarro, 1º Bachillerato A, EFL

Stephen Kumalo, who is a black church minister, leaves from Ndotsheni to Johannesburg to look for some lost members of his family as are his son, brother (John) and sister(Gertrude). After a long journey and bad experiences, he manages to find them all with the help of Mr Msimangu; but they have changed. His sister has turned to prostitution and has a little boy; his brother has lost his faith and his son has murdered Arthur Jarvis, an opponent of apartheid. Stephen goes to James Jarvis’ house to tell him what his son did to Arthur. Absalom, Stephen’s son, is sentenced to death. Msimangu gives Stephen all the money he had, so that he goes back to Ndotsheni. He has to return home without Gertrude, who has disappeared.  Finally Stephen goes back home, there the drought still rages, and he prays for it to end. Time after, a letter came saying the date of the hanging of Absalom, and ...

The part I found most interesting was when James Jarvis, Arthur Jarvis’s father, went to Ndotsheni to meet Stephen and immediately it started to rain, although there was a drought there. And a few days later James sent an agricultural expert to teach local people new farming techniques. I like this part of the book because I find very interesting that, although Stephen’s son murdered his own son, James wanted to help him and his community to handle the drought. I think James saw in Stephen remorse for what his son had done and that he felt awful.

I would recommend this book both to teenagers and adults. 

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