Religion In Alan Paton's Cry, The Beloved Country

924 Words4 Pages
Religious elements run rampant in many of the most classic novels. However, the importance of religion cannot be understated in some of the lesser known novels as in Alan Paton’s Cry, The Beloved Country. Paton’s novel follows the spiritual journey of Stephen Kumalo, a priest who undergoes a dramatic transformation because of his spirituality. Kumalo’s journey is best understood in the context of the people, events, and attitudes related to his journey, and the stark difference between the Kumalo at the end of the story and the character introduced at the beginning. The people Kumalo encounters are particularly influential in his spiritual journey. Perhaps the most influential is Theophilus Msimangu. Msimangu is the true impetus for Kumalo’s journey to find his son. He is one of the most influential characters because of his dedication to helping Kumalo. At one point, Msimangu asserts “I am not kind. I am a selfish and sinful man" (Paton, 45). He recognizes the fact that he is a sinful man because he tends to lose his temper, but he also believes “God put his hands” on him and is using him (Paton 238). Kumalo, henceforth obsessed with little more than finding his son and other selfish pursuits, is assisted by Msimangu providing guidance an assistance in helping him through Johannesburg and with his mission to find his son. However, Msimangu’s criticism of himself is important for Kumalo’s eventual realization of his own selfish pursuits, and the development of his
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