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

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CHAPTER 22

The omniscient narrator returns, describing the courtroom and, especially, the important role of the Judge. Judges justify the sentences they impose by quoting the law, which goes back to "the White People, for it is the White People that make the Law." The narrator's tone is somewhat sarcastic, implying that racial discrimination may be legal, but is it just? The trial itself, however, is a model of correctness.



Absalom Kumalo, Matthew Kumalo, and Johannes Pafuri are on trial for the murder of Arthur Trevelyan Jarvis on October 8, 1946. When Mr. Carmichael cannot get Absalom's charge changed from murder to culpable homicide, he has Absalom plead not guilty as the other boys have done. Absalom is quiet during the proceedings, but the other two act shocked at being accused of such things. Absalom is truthful on the stand, but we know it doesn't help his case when he can't explain why he had a bullet in the gun if he meant only to frighten people with it. At the end of the session everyone leaves, whites through their door and blacks through theirs. People point out James Jarvis, and Kumalo recognizes him as the man from the hills above Ndotsheni. Kumalo trembles. When murder itself horrifies him so deeply, how can he bear even to look at the father of the man his own son has killed?

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