Rural Society In Alan Paton's Cry, The Beloved Country

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In Alan Paton 's novel, “Cry, the Beloved Country”, the tensions between both urban and rural society are prevalent throughout the story. At the beginning, we are introduced to Stephen Kumalo, a priest in a small South African town who must travel to the big city of Johannesburg in order to assist his family. While he is there, readers are able to not only see how the two societies differ, but also how the people have been changed by them. Stephen’s son, John Kumalo, is vastly different from his father due to the environment he has lived in. While both Stephen and John are related, they both representing differing ways of life, with Stephen Kumalo representing the rural life and John Kumalo representing urban life. By comparing these two individuals, readers can identify that rural society represents stability, religion, and equality. First, the small village that Kumalo is from represents stability. The village is a small agriculture village which relies on farming in order to survive. Kumalo describes his home when he says, “The grass is rich and matted, you cannot see the soil. It holds the rain and the mist, and they seep into the ground, feeding the streams in every kloof. It is well-tended, and not too many cattle feed upon it; not too many fires burn it, laying bare the soil. Stand unshod upon it, for the ground is holy, being even as it came from the Creator. Keep it, guard it, care for it, for it keeps men, guards men, cares for men. Destroy it and man is

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