By Harold Bloom (ed)
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Extra resources for Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country; New Edition (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)
Because of his liberal Christian vision and the limits it automatically imposes 42 Stephen Watson on the nature and range of political beliefs and practices available to him, he never really questions the power of humility, respect for persons, compassion and the quest for personal salvation to achieve a signiﬁcant restructuring of society. 12 Nor does Paton ever really question the applicability of the Sermon on the Mount to a political programme. For though it may be possible to establish just relations between individuals purely by moral and rational suasion and accommodation, in inter-group relations this is practically an impossibility.
Yes, my friend. —We are here to stop you, umfundisi. Not by force, you see—he pointed—the police are there to prevent that. But by persuasion. If you use this bus you are weakening the cause of the black people. We have determined not to use these buses until the fare is brought back again to fourpence. —Yes, indeed, I have heard of it. He turned to Kumalo. —I was very foolish, my friend. I had forgotten that there were no buses, at least I had forgotten the boycott of the buses. —Our business is very urgent, said Kumalo, humbly.
258–59) In so far as Cry, the Beloved Country records an antagonism between a basically materialist view of South Africa’s conflicts (which is reflected in John Cry, the Beloved Country and the Failure of Liberal Vision 43 Kumalo’s attitudes and ideas) and an idealist attempt to solve them (reflected in the ideas of Stephen and Msimangu), it can be regarded as a rudimentary novel of ideas. But Paton never develops this antagonism to the point where it would become truly meaningful. Indeed, he cannot; his ideology prevents him from doing so.
Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country; New Edition (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations) by Harold Bloom (ed)