Study Guide

Cry, the Beloved Country Tough-o-Meter

By Alan Paton


(3) Base Camp

Cry, the Beloved Country isn't supposed to be hard. After all, Alan Paton wants to influence his readers against the racism of South African pre-apartheid society. It's tough to convince people of your ideas if you're making it difficult to understand what the heck you are talking about in the first place.

At the same time, Cry, the Beloved Country isn't supposed to be easy, either. Paton uses a lot of artistic language to try to give readers the flavor of Kumalo's life in the Zulu village of Ndotsheni. He also includes a ton of religious imagery, since a lot of the novel's anti-racist arguments come from Paton's belief in universal Christian love. Yes, Paton wants to convey his social message, but he also wants give us an artistically interesting and highly moral book. So Cry, the Beloved Country isn't the most difficult book ever written, but it's not A Very Hungry Caterpillar either (though we love that book, too).

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