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Barron's Booknotes-Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

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CHAPTER 20

His wife and daughter-in-law leave Jarvis in his son's house. There he is surrounded by books on South Africa, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, justice, and religion, and portraits of two men who died for their beliefs-Lincoln and Jesus. As Jarvis glances through the heaps of books, papers, letters, and invitations, he is especially struck by all the books about Lincoln, who was President during the Civil War, and by a quaintly phrased letter from the Claremont African Boys' Club. He finds and reads a fragment of one of Arthur's speeches. It argues that exploitation of black labor is no longer permissible, now that the cost is known in terms of disintegration of black community life, poverty, slums, and crime. Arthur argues that whites must provide something to replace the old tribal system, which, with all its faults, was at least a moral system. Jarvis smokes his pipe and thinks for some time; then he reads Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and thinks again. Finally he takes the Lincoln book with him. The dark strain on the floor makes him think of Arthur as a small boy. He crosses it and passes the police guard at the door.



NOTE: THE JARVISES, ALAN PATON, AND THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS Arthur's papers in this chapter and Chapters 21 and 24 come directly out of Alan Paton's own life and writing. Like Msimangu in Chapter 7, Arthur is a spokesman for the author. As for Jarvis, you are not told what he is thinking during long silences. You can only guess from what he says and does. Like Kumalo, he seems to be thinking about South African issues more deeply than ever before. You don't know why he finds the Gettysburg Address so meaningful, but these may be some lines that struck him: "It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced....- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave
the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." Lincoln delivered the address in 1863, during the Civil War, at the dedication of a cemetery at Gettysburg battlefield. At the start of 1863 Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery in the Confederate States.

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