The central problem of the novel is stated by Msimangu: it is the problem of a people caught between two worlds. The old world of ritual and tribal adherence, of respect for the chief, and of tradition has been destroyed, but nothing has been offered in its place. The white man has disrupted the old ways but refuses to accept the native in the new world. Currently the natives live in an unstructured world where there are no values and no order to adhere to. This idea is represented in the novel by Absalom and Gertrude, who lose their old values and become part of the lawless life in Johannesburg. The damaging result of this change is fear.
Cry, the Beloved Country has been described as a novel of social protest. What is meant by this phrase and what is Paton's protest? Discuss Paton's use of Biblical language. How would you link this with the theme of the novel? Are the points of view of black and white South Africans equally presented? Give examples.
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The crime situation is very serious. The criminals who commit these serious crimes are for the most part natives. There is no hiding this fact, and I do not see how any newspaper could possibly hide it. Indeed, I do not see any good reason for hiding any of the facts about crime, except perhaps from children. I do not think for one moment that we should derive any comfort from the fact that there is a world-wide epidemic of serious crime.