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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

CHAPTER 7

Summary

Jarvis visits his son’s house again and deliberately treads past the fatal stain on the floor. He sits in his son’s study and flips through the various articles buying on the desk. He is arrested by one particular article titled ‘Private Essay on the Evolution of a South African.’ He is shaken by his son’s view on his upbringing and is lost in introspection for quite a white. Finally he gets up and walks out of the house avoiding the passage with the bloody stain on the floor.

Notes

Arthur’s articles casts a retrospective glances on his upbringing. His evaluation of it is honest, he acknowledges that he has learned honor, charity and generosity from his parents but white South Africa learned nothing. On first reading of the article Jarvis is infuriated and hurt. It is difficult for an elderly man to accept his son’s criticism regarding his upbringing. It hurts Jarvis more because he knows that his son’s thinking is not wrong. He has neglected the ideals he has imbibed in his son he has neglected his country and thus he has failed in Arthur’s eyes. The things he has neglected or taken for granted are issues his son has examined and drawn conclusions. His son’s wisdom and maturity has put the father into shock, this information is difficult to absorb for the father in Jarvis, in spite of the shocking death of his son.


CHAPTER 8

Summary

One of the favorite nieces of Margaret Jarvis, Barbara smith, is married to a man from springs. One day, Jarvis and his wife go to springs to spend a day with them. While the ladies are talking, there is a knock at the kitchen door Jarvis walks to it and opens the door. He finds an old, weary person wearing frayed clothes, standing at the door. The old person is Kumalo, who is staggered to see Jarvis. His is so exhausted that his legs seem to give away and he sits on the steps. Jarvis cannot understand the person's behavior and asks him why he fears him so. Kumalo painfully informs him that he is the father of his (Jarvis) son’s assassin. There is a strained silence between them. James Jarvis tells Kumalo that there is no anger in him.

James Jarvis asks Smiths daughter about Sibelco’s daughter, on Kumalo's behalf. He informs Kumalo that Sibelco’s daughter has fallen to bad ways and was arrested by the police.

Notes

The first meeting between Kumalo and James Jarvis shows that change Jarvis has undergone. Even before he learns anything about Kumalo he senses that something very sad has befallen him. He treats the suffering native with kindness and courtesy, something he wouldn’t have bothered to do earlier. What is even more surprising is the calmness with which he reacts to Kumalo's confession about his son. Jarvis tells Kumalo that there is no anger in him. Perhaps his son’s writings have made Jarvis understand the frustration and condition of the young natives like Absalom, or perhaps his son’s tragedy has roused dormant springs of compassion in him or perhaps both. The change of heart can also be glimpsed in his little act of kindness for Kumalo. When the niece remarks that she doesn’t care where Sibelco’s daughter is. Jarvis translates it, as the niece doesn’t know the girl’s whereabouts. Jarvis has gained sensitivity that will lead him to perform charitable deeds in Ndotsheni. With no trace of Sibelco’s daughter, Kumalo’s quest has proved fruitless. The three souls he was searching for, Absalom, Gertrude and Sibelco’s daughter have sunk to degeneration and crime, from which there may be no salvation.

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