Cry, the Beloved Country

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Cry, the Beloved Country Book III, Chapter 35 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Napoleon shows the people of Ndotsheni how to build a pen for the cattle and new ways to plow the ground. Not everyone is happy about these new developments. The man whose land is eaten up by the damn is resentful, but since Stephen had given him milk that had saved his nephew, he had done it. The dam is being built. Everything is not going to happen overnight, but it will happen. There is new life in Ndotsheni.
Ndotsheni is beginning to turn around with Napoleon’s help. There is hope for the land’s restoration yet.
Themes
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
Napoleon gives Stephen a tour of the developments. He tells him that once the dam is working, Stephen will no longer have to take the “white man’s milk.” Stephen chastises him, saying that many would be dead or gone if not for that milk. Napoleon says that he is grateful for James Jarvis, but that in general, it was white men who took land from black men, and so anything good a white man does is “repayment” for that foolishness. Stephen resists this line of reasoning, but Napoleon presses on. He says that even if the valley was restored to its former glory, it would still not be big enough to hold all the people, and some would still go to Johannesburg.
Napoleon is not wrong—it is good that the people of Ndotsheni become self-reliant. He is also correct that even when the land is restored, it is still unevenly distributed, and thus some people will still leave for the corrupting force of Johannesburg.
Themes
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
Racism and Apartheid Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
Stephen reflects on this. He asks Napoleon who it is that he does this for, and Napoleon says “not for a white man or a black man, but for Africa.” He then clarifies that he is not a very political man and does not mean to make trouble in Stephen’s community, he just wishes to make it right. Stephen reminds him that while it is good to have such thoughts, he should not hate or desire to rule over any man, for it will corrupt him. The young man agrees.
Stephen obviously recognizes the traits of his brother John in Napoleon—political astuteness, brilliance—without the accompanying corruption. This is why he gives Napoleon the warning to not seek power, as John has.
Themes
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Families Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon