And Finally, Change Essay, Research Paper
And Finally, Change
In undertaking a journey, a person learns and changes. One may change emotionally, psychologically, as well as spiritually. The journeyer is scared at first, then usually goes through some pain and suffering. In the end, however, this journeyer comes out different then they were when they began, with some understanding. Stephan Kumalo, James Jarvis, and Absolom Kumalo undertake this very thing in Cry, the beloved Country, by Alan Paton.
Stephan Kumalo, a priest from the small native town of Ndosheni, takes a journey to the great city of Johannesburg. He intends to find his sick sister and his son, Absolom, who has gone away. At first, Stephan has “the fear of the unknown, the fear of the great city”(44) where his loved ones had gone to and not written in months. Not long after he begins, he realizes “this is a bitter journey”(55) upon hearing the occupations and practices of his sister. He goes through pain and suffering, more and more as he learns of his brother’s loss of faith in the church, and the murder his son has committed. But, soon enough he comes to an understanding of this world in Johannesburg. He learns why there is so much crime and poverty. He then has hope the success of his daughter in law and his nephew in Ndosheni. He gains hope for the rebuilding of the tribe. Stephan Kumalo comes away from his journey changing spiritually and knowing that there is “comfort in a world of desolation”(94). He changes emotionally and becomes stronger. Also, he changes psychologically and learning the troubles of Johannesburg and a partied, and their various causes.
James Jarvis undergoes vast changes during his journey. He is told that his son has been killed, and he leaves for Johannesburg at once. His son, Arthur, was a social activist helping natives in South Africa, trying to get better hospitals and schools for them. These are subjects James Jarvis never thought about much. When he arrives at his son’s house, the place of Arthur’s death, he reads through some of his manuscripts and books. First, James suffers a lot thinking about his son’s death. As he reads through some of his books and papers however, he comes to an understanding how great a man his son was, and what he stood for. “He sat smoking his pipe and was lost in thought”(180) after he reads a manuscript on what is permissible and what is not permissible in South Africa. When James returns home, he comes back changed and decides to finish some of his son’s work. He dedicates himself to help save Ndosheni, the near by decaying native town. The people say “he’s going queer”(277) after they see him give milk to Ndosheni, build a dam for Ndosheni, and hire an agricultural demonstrator for Ndosheni. After his journey, he walks away refined, with a better understanding of his world.
Absolom Kumalo is a journeyer as well in Cry, the Beloved Country. He begins his journey by leaving his home town of Ndosheni to go to Johannesburg to find his aunt Gertrude, who had left in search of her husband. Absolom, though not a bad kid, quickly gets into trouble, turning to theft and robbery. He is sent off to a reformatory school. The men in charge at the reformatory let him out early because of his pregnant girlfriend that he wishes to marry. He later breaks into a house with a revolver meant to scare, not to kill, but shoots the owner Arthur Jarvis out of fear. He goes into hiding. Absolom “vowed to not lie anymore”, “nor do anything else that is evil”(199). After much pain and suffering during questions from the police and his father, and during time spent sitting alone in a jail cell, he comes to an understanding of what has happened. He repents and prays. Absolom later writes to his father Stephan that there will be no mercy for what he has done, and he will be hung. He included that if he could return to Ndosheni, he would not leave it again.
In Cry, the Beloved Country, these three characters take journeys, and finish them changed and with better understandings. They, like any journeymen, were apprehensive at first and did not know exactly what they were getting into. After some hardships, their realization came to them. When the journey was over, they had learned a lot. A journey is a learning cycle, a refining machine. Though some will not make it all the way around, the final result is change.