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Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis

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People in this world are very similar to each other but they also have their differences. Many people are of the same ethnicity or culture; they practice the same religion, and even have the same pastimes and enjoy the same activities. Although we are all alike in many ways, no matter how alike you are there will always be differences. In the book Cry the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton, Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis are two different people and although they live in the same village they come from two extremely different worlds, and end up meeting in the middle. Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis are two different people. Kumalo is a poor black preacher from the valley of the South African village of Ndotsheni. While looking for his sister in Johannesburg, Kumalo discovered that his son, Absalom had killed a man, that man was Jarvis’ son, Arthur. Later on in the book James Jarvis looses his wife to an illness. Kumalo is a very trusting man, very concerned about the welfare of his family. He is not quick to receive a handout.

Kumalo is a very trusting man, very concerned about the welfare of his family. He is not quick to receive a handout. Kumalo trusts the Lord with everything he does, he is a loving and God- fearing man, “Although his money was little he brought her a red dress and a white thing that they called a turban for her head. Also a shirt, a pair of short trousers, and a jersey for the boy and a couple of stout handkerchiefs for his mother to use on his nose” (64). Kumalo is very gullible and is quick to trust, he is also not very smart with the people he relies on, “The man looked a decent man, and the parson spoke to him humbly, I gave a pound to a young man, he said, and he told me he would get my ticket at the ticket office. You have been cheated, umfundisi. Can you see the young man? No, you will not see him again” (49). On the other hand, James Jarvis is a racist who has never really been exposed to the natives of South Africa, White people, black people, coloured people, Indians, it was the first time that Jarvis and his wife had sat in a church with people who were not white” (181).

In light of their differences, Kumalo and Jarvis also have similarities. Over the course of the book Kumalo and Jarvis both lose loved ones. Kumalo’s son is killed because he murdered Arthur Jarvis and his sister leaves to join a convent. Jarvis also loses his son, Arthur, and his wife dies after an illness. Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis are also very generous men. Kumalo always gives whatever he has to people who are in need. Near the end of the book Jarvis came around and gave the children of Ndotsheni milk, “There outside the door was the milk, in shining cans in the cart. This milk is for small children only, for those who are not yet at school… You would surely have a message for uJarvis umfundisi? And Kumalo stuttered and stammered, and at last pointed his hand up at the sky. And the man said, Tixo will bless him, and Kumalo nodded” (271-272). Jarvis also started plans to build a church, “These things we did in memory of our beloved son.

It was one of her last wishes that a new church should be built in Ndotsheni and I shall come to discuss it will you. Yours truly, James Jarvis” (296). Kumalo and Jarvis also both work to help Ndotsheni through the drought, “There is ploughing in Ndotsheni, and indeed on all the farms around it. But the plouging goes slowly, because the young demonstrator, and behind him the chief, tell the men they must no longer go up and down. They throw up walls of earth, and plough round the hills, so that the fields look no longer as they used to look in the old days of plouging” (299).

The author chose these two men, a white man and a black man because they are older and set in their ways, “we do what is in us, and why it is in us, that is also a secret. It is Christ in us, crying that men may be succored and forgiven, even when He Himself is forsaken” (140.) Because of their age you can really see the progress that they have made, “this thing that is the heaviest thing of all my years is the heaviest thing of all your years also” (211.) If two younger people were to change it would not really mean anything because young people change all the time, it is their nature.

Stephen Kumalo, when first introduced is a very trusting man afraid to venture out into the world but discovers a new friend. James Jarvis when first introduced in the book was racist set in his ways and thought a black person was only good for a farm hand or a servant. But even though they came from two different worlds they ended up meeting in the middle.

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