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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 4

Summary

Things are falling into place at Ndotsheni. Kuluseís child has recovered, Absalomís wife and Gertrudeís son have adjusted to the village life, and there is a general feeling of optimism generated by Mr. Jarvis interest in the welfare of the village. Mr. Jarvisí grandson visits Kumalo to learn Zulu, he informs Kumalo that he will be returning to Johannesburg. James Jarvis turns up at Ndotsheni with an agricultural demonstrator Mr. Napoleon Letsitsi. The agricultural demonstrator tells Kumalo that the villagers must stop abusing the land by over-plowing and burning dung and weeds. He also informs that they are to build a dam in the valley. Kumalo wishes that he lived to see the rejuvenation of the valley.

Notes

The shiny little boy, the son of Arthur Jarvis is a bright ray of the effulgence his father was. The boyís mischievous ways, his sparkling eyes his enthusiasm to learn Zulu makes something light in Kumaloís heavy heart. It is for this reason that Kumalo tells the boy that when he goes to Johannesburg, 'something bright will go out of Ndotshenií. The boy has also been instrumental in drawing his grandfatherís attention to problems of the villagers. James Jarvis tries to help the villagers not only by charity but more vitally by making them self-reliant. He has taken his sonís advice to make the natives independent. Therefore, Jarvis brings the agricultural instructor to Ndotsheni to help them cultivate their land, pressure it and make the valley self-sufficient. It is this goodness and discretion that of resisting the temptation to take the natives under his wings, instead of making them stand on their own feet, is most remarkable of Jarvis.


Kumalo has seen the destruction of the valley in his lifetime and he thus prays that he live to witness the rebirth of the valley.

CHAPTER 5

Summary

James Jarvisí wife passes away. Kumalo and the villagers are very sad to hear of her demise because she was a good woman. Kumalo wishes to personally visit Jarvis and offer his condolence but custom forbids it. Therefore, he has to content himself with sending a condolence letter.

The Bishop wants Kumalo to leave the village because his son has committed a fatal crime. Kumalo pleads that he should not be removed from his villagers because Mr. Jarvis has forgiven him and the villagers love him even after he has confessed his sonís sin. The Bishop advises him to go to Pietermaritzburg because it would lift the burden of rebuilding his rundown church, which he could not afford. Miraculously, at this time a letter arrives from Jarvis that he wishes to build a new church in Ndotsheni. The Bishop is stupefied; Kumalo happily acquaints him with all the happenings in Ndotsheni. The Bishop remarks that it is not Godís will that Kumalo should not leave Ndotsheni. Kumalo is deeply thankful to God for his mercy.

Notes

The relationship developing between Mr. Jarvis and Kumalo, between High Place and Ndotsheni is indicative of a social and spiritual revolution that is on anvil, if the two races try to understand and accommodate each other. There is a mutual concern amongst the people of Ndotsheni and High Place. The villagers are very sorry to hear about Mrs. Jarvis demise and with great care they make a wreath for the deceased lady. Kumalo wishes to personally comfort Mr. Jarvis but custom forbids it: he, therefore, sends him a letter of condolence. Reciprocally, Jarvis is also touched by their concern and writes to Kumalo informing him that his wife had not been keeping well lately. He writes this explanation so that Kumalo doesnít think that the lady died due to the loss of her murdered son.

In the letter, he also writes of building a church in Ndotsheni. The letter speaks volumes about the deep sympathy and sensitivity he has developed for the blacks. Mr. Jarvis decision to build the church show that he is a person inclined to make quiet observations (he had noticed the dilapidated condition of the church) and do something to solve the problem without much ado or ostentation.

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