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

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CHAPTER 33

Kumalo prays every day for the restoration of Ndotsheni, and a sick child gets well on the daily milk. One day the small white boy, gallops up again, and again he and Kumalo enjoy a lighthearted conversation. Arthur need not have worried that his son might not be like him. Kumalo tells the boy that when he leaves, something bright will go out of Ndotsheni. The boy in turn compliments Mrs. Kumalo on her house. She is overcome at the realization that the son of the man Absalom killed has visited her house. After his Zulu lesson the boy leaves, passing a stranger who is near the church.



The stranger, a young black man, introduces himself as Napoleon Letsitsi, an agricultural demonstrator hired by Jarvis. Kumalo greets him as an "angel from God," and boards him in his own house. He has a pang of envy at learning Letsitsi earns more than he does, but rejoices that the young man really knows how to make the valley fruitful. Letsitsi also says the stakes mark a dam, which will prevent future droughts. A horse clatters up again; it is the small boy, come back to say goodbye. He is leaving the next day. And that, Kumalo says to Letsitsi, "is a small angel from God."

Kumalo's phrase puts into words something we can't help having felt in both Chapters 31 and 33. Arthur's son rides up to St. Mark's exactly as Arthur did in his boyhood, and, like Arthur, he seems so thoroughly good that he's too good to be true. In real life, the boy and Arthur would have flaws. But here, each of them is presented as a one-dimensional portrait to show us the best of Christianity in action.

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