Cry, the Beloved Country

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Cry, the Beloved Country Book II, Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
James returns to Arthur’s house. He goes through the passage again, the one where Arthur had been killed, with the traces of blood still on the ground. He goes back to the study, and past the bookshelves and material that he had browsed before. He digs through his son’s articles and essays and locates one that Arthur had written about how one can grow up and have no real understanding of his country—of black men or Afrikaners or anyone. He talks about how one must learn about South Africa – about the true South Africa – in order to really love her. He then condemns his parents for having taught him many virtues, but never having shown him the true face of South Africa.
From beyond the grave, Arthur proves to his father that the only way for James to be able to love South Africa is to understand how its society truly works.
Themes
Racism and Apartheid Theme Icon
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Families Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
James is deeply wounded by this accusation. He prepares to leave, but then returns to the study and papers and finishes reading them. In the papers, Arthur asserts that he is compelled by rightness to do good by his country, compelled by the “conflict in [his] deepest soul.” He prays that his children will follow in his and his wife Mary’s examples. James thinks about this for a while, and then leaves the house not by the passage with the bloodstain, but the front door.
James is obviously upset by the implication that he and his wife are part of this system of suffering, but by leaving by the front door instead of sneaking out the back he indicates that he understands and accepts the truth of this fact, and accepts his son's ideas and will try to keep them alive.
Themes
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
Racism and Apartheid Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Families Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon