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Racial intolerance in the novel cry the beloved country

Quotes About Racism in Cry, The Beloved Country

How we cite our quotes: Paragraph Quote 1 — Perhaps you might be hungry, small one. Perhaps she has some food. Would you address this person as "Reverend" at the end of every sentence? But in the dialogue that takes place in Zulu in this novel, it's very common for Paton to repeat terms like umfundisi or umnumzana regularly, at the end of nearly every sentence, even though the rest of the dialogue in English.

This might be a way of showing differences in manners between Zulu and English speakers. It might also be a way for Paton to remind us that the characters may seem like they are speaking English, but they aren't. But the effect of this repetition of words like umfundisi is to make a lot of the Zulu conversations sound like formal songs with a regular refrain.

  • The Suffering of Black Women Black women receive a lot of attention in the story, and much of it has to do with their inability to speak their true feelings;
  • When Racism and Segregation Become Normal Parts of Society Stephen Kumalo comes face to face with racism and segregation throughout the book, and yet oftentimes, he acts as though it is completely normal;
  • They also had to live in specially selected areas out in the countryside or around the edges of major cities.

It's a small thing, but Paton's sing-songy use of these terms can make the dialogue of Cry, the Beloved Country seem less natural and everyday. Race Quote 2 [Kumalo] went out of the door, and she watched him through the little window, walking slowly to the door of the church.

Cry, the Beloved Country

Then she sat down at his table, and put her head on it, and was silent, with the patient suffering of black women, with the suffering of oxen, with the suffering of any that are mute.

Or it could mean that Kumalo's wife is not allowed to speak her suffering in some deep way, that there are social obstacles preventing black South African women like her from expressing their true feelings. After all, we get the sense from Cry, the Beloved Country that this is a deeply patriarchal world "patriarchal" means controlled by men. In fact, we don't hear much from any of the women in the novel, black or white.

But Paton does specifically emphasize that he is talking about the muteness of black women here.

In this world of both racial and gender prejudice, why might Kumalo's wife be "mute" in her suffering, in a way that the other characters are not? How might this passage be showing some of Paton's own biases? Race Quote 3 Kumalo climbed into the carriage for non-Europeans, already full of the humbler people of his race, some with strange assortments of European garments, some with blankets over their strange assortment, some with blankets over the semi-nudity of their primitive dress, though these were all women.

Men travelled no longer in primitive dress.

  • This might be a way of showing differences in manners between Zulu and English speakers;
  • But what is more interesting here is that the black people from the tribes have assimilated into the newfound culture by adding European fashion into their wardrobes, and yet, they cannot ride in the same car with those people.

It's as though he's so used to it that it seems natural to him.