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Free Study Guide-Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton-Free Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

BOOK II

CHAPTER 1

Summary

Towering above Ndotsheni and the great valley of Umzimkulu lies High Place, the farm and dwelling place of James Jarvis, Esquire. James Jarvis superiors the polishing on the fields; there has been no rain and the soil is turning hard. The farmers on the hill have been musing on the chance of the erosion in the valley. They wish that the farmers of Ndotsheni had learned to fight the erosion, but the farmers were an ignorant lot. Education would probably help them but once educated, the men preferred to go to town for more congenial occupations. Jarvis ponders over these thoughts and is inevitable reminded of his son. His son had gone in for engineering and settled in Johannesburg.

While he stands rapt in these thoughts, a car approaches Jarvis. Two police officers step out of the car they walk up to Jarvis and inform him of his sonís death. Jarvis cannot bear to think that his son has been murdered. He looks drearily at the task of breaking the news to his wife. The police officer makes arrangements for the old couple to take an airplane to Johannesburg.

Notes

Book II unfolds in a manner congruent to Book I. Paton uses the technique of incremental repetition by gradually unfolding the story with identical sentences; albeit with slight variations. In this chapter, the description of the countryside around Ixopo is superseded by the description of rich uncultivated land over the hill. The exuberant and rich land occupied by James Jarvis immediately brings to mind the contrasting conditions of Stephen Kumaloís barren, run-down village, Ndotsheni, whereas High Place is well maintained. Over-grazing and incorrect farming techniques have ruined Ndotsheni. James Jarvis is aware of the erosion taking place in the valley, but is too rapt in his own concerns to do something constructive for the natives. It is this trait of self-complacency that will undergo a massive change after the death of his son. There are a lot of similarities between James Jarvis and Stephen Kumalo. Both are ordinary men tied to their village, who have a deep love for the land and are, therefore, upset that their children have forsaken it for future prospects in Johannesburg. Both are unaware of the true nature of the native problem and to what extent things have deteriorated. Eventually, both are forced to go to Johannesburg and face the same tragedy, i.e., and death of their respective sons. Finally, both return home more understanding of the problems faced by their country and more determined to do somethingís constructive for their country.


The chapter also demonstrates Patonís dexterity in plot construction. Note the paralleled beginnings of Book I and II, first opening with a black protagonist, the second with a white man the continuation of using the state of the soil to reflect the living condition of the inhabitants. A less obtrusive parallel between the two books is that, immediately after the background of the two protagonists is established. Disturbing news is brought to them (in case of Kumalo it is Msimanguís letter and with James Jarvis it is the new of his sonís death) and they are brought to Johannesburg, which lies at the hub of the wheel. This is an example of Patonís skill to develop the plot at a steady pace without wasting much space.

CHAPTER 2

Summary

John Harrison, Arthur Jarvis' brother-in-law, comes to pick up Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis at the airport. On the way, he tells them all he knew about the crime. He also tells James Jarvis that ironically, his son had been writing an article on ĎThe Truth about Native Crime' just before he was killed. James Jarvis says that he and his on have never seen eye to eye on the native question. Harrison tells him about his slain sonís dedication to the native cause. This account gives James Jarvis facet of his son, which so long he had been blind to. A sad pride well up in his heart, when he narrates the same account to his life.

Notes

Life is an endless process of learning, and age holds no bar is what Paton would like us to believe. To illustrate his point he picks up two simple, old men who are at the stage of life wherein beliefs and ideas are deep rooted and not easily altered. The two men are separately thrust into Johannesburg by unpleasant circumstances; are made aware of happenings alien to their village life. Book I shows the experiences of Stephen Kumalo. It tells how he moves to a gradual understanding of the problems of his race. Book II shows a similar trail for the white man Jarvis. From John Harrison he learns things he had never know about his son. Dedicated activists for the native cause, a man ready to make any sacrifice for his country and its people.

John Harrison admires Arthur Jarvis, yet is unable to emulate him because he classifies himself, as a practical man not inclined to idealistic pursuits. The reality is that he lacks the intrepidity and dedication that Arthur Jarvis possessed.

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