Study Guide

Cry, the Beloved Country Chapter 9

By Alan Paton

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Chapter 9

  • This chapter is all about "you." You? Yes you.
  • Okay, okay. So the "you" is a black person (shifting between a woman, a boy, and a man) dealing with the poor housing available in the black districts of Johannesburg.
  • (For more on the unusual style of this chapter, check out "Suffering" in "Themes.")
  • A lot of people in the city are forced to rent out rooms to strangers because they need the extra money.
  • But these rooms can't meet the demand, since there are huge numbers of people pouring into the city from rural areas looking for work, and there aren't enough legal, proper new houses being built to shelter all of them.
  • So, out of desperation, a lot of the city's new residents build illegal shanties to live in. There are so many shanties that they have now formed a whole Shanty Town, housing tons of people close together and in poor conditions.
  • The chapter then zooms in on a woman, newly arrived in the Shanty Town, whose child gets sick. A local activist, Dubula, offers to bring in a doctor, but it's too late, and the child dies.
  • White people come and look at the shanties, worried about the bad quality of life for their residents, but then they go back to their own homes where everything's peachy keen.
  • These Shanty Towns have also spread to other growing cities in South Africa.

Cry, the Beloved Country Chapter 9 Study Group

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