Study Guide

Cry, the Beloved Country Chapter 14

By Alan Paton

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Chapter 14

  • Msimangu and the young white man who works for Absalom's reform school approach Kumalo.
  • The young white man confirms what Kumalo has feared: that Absalom murdered the white engineer Arthur Jarvis.
  • According to him, there were three guys there—Absalom, Kumalo's brother John's son, and a third person. But it was definitely Absalom who fired the shot.
  • Kumalo agrees to visit the prison with Msimangu.
  • As they approach the prison, they pass by John's shop, where Kumalo breaks the news to John that his son has been involved in a burglary gone wrong.
  • John agrees to go to the prison with Kumalo, and at the prison, each of the Kumalo brothers meets with his own son separately.
  • Finally, in the saddest way possible, Kumalo sets eyes on his long-lost child, Absalom.
  • Absalom confesses: "I told [the police] I was frightened when the white man came [to the supposedly empty house]. So I shot him. I did not mean to kill him" (14.83).
  • The young white man from the reform school asks why Absalom ditched his job and his pregnant girlfriend, and the only explanation Absalom can give is that it was the devil who made him do it. Yeah, that's probably not gonna hold up in court.
  • After visiting his son, John seems glad to hear that Absalom has taken all responsibility for the murder.
  • Even so, John plans to hire a lawyer to try and prove that neither Absalom nor John's son were at the house at all.Kumalo decides to go to Father Vincent at the Mission House for spiritual help.

Cry, the Beloved Country Chapter 14 Study Group

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