Cry, the Beloved Country

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James Jarvis Character Analysis

– A white farmer, and the novel’s other protagonist. James is the father of Arthur, murdered by Stephen Kumalo’s son Absalom. He struggles with the fact that, like Stephen, he does not understand his son. Jarvis’s politics are centrist, but his understanding of and sympathy with the plight of South Africa’s blacks grows as he reads Arthur’s writings. Jarvis is a good man who grants forgiveness to Stephen, and uses his wealth to provide help to Stephen’s community as they suffer from drought, poverty, and hunger. After his wife’s death, he decides to move to Johannesburg.
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James Jarvis Character Timeline in Cry, the Beloved Country

The timeline below shows where the character James Jarvis appears in Cry, the Beloved Country. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book II, Chapter 18
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
...Chapter 1. But instead of looking down, the narrator shows High Place, the farm of James Jarvis. (full context)
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James observes the plowing of his fields. There is a drought, and the earth is dry... (full context)
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When he arrives home, the policeman is there. He gives James the bad news—his son Arthur has been murdered that very afternoon, shot dead in Johannesburg... (full context)
Book II, Chapter 19
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James’s daughter-in-law’s brother, John Harrison, meets James and Margaret when they arrive in Johannesburg. John updates... (full context)
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When they return from the mortuary, James stays up with Mr. Harrison, John’s father, to talk. Mr. Harrison regales James with tales... (full context)
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When they are done talking, James goes to bed. Upstairs, Margaret is awake. James recounts her with Mr. Harrison’s stories about... (full context)
Book II, Chapter 20
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The next day, the police take James to his son Arthur’s house. There, he begins to go through his many papers and... (full context)
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James discovers a few pages of a manuscript that Arthur was working on, in which he... (full context)
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After he is finished, James meditates on the text for a while, before getting up and looking at the books... (full context)
Book II, Chapter 21
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...with people from every walk of life, every race. This is the first time that James and Margaret have been in the same church as such people. The service is beautiful,... (full context)
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Back at the house later that evening, Mr. Harrison sits with James. They smoke and have a drink and continue discussing the crime situation in Johannesburg. Mr.... (full context)
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The next day, James awakes to the news that the servant who had been knocked unconscious at Arthur’s home... (full context)
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Mid-sentence, the manuscript ends. James ponders the ideas that Arthur had written there, and feels like he is beginning to... (full context)
Book II, Chapter 22
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...after the judge leaves, the whites and backs file out separate doors. Stephen notices that James, the father of the man Absalom killed, is there in the court. Stephen looks away,... (full context)
Book II, Chapter 24
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James returns to Arthur’s house. He goes through the passage again, the one where Arthur had... (full context)
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James is deeply wounded by this accusation. He prepares to leave, but then returns to the... (full context)
Book II, Chapter 25
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...when court is not in session, Margaret Jarvis and her niece go into town, leaving James behind at the house. He reads about the gold rush at Odendaalsrust, and how the... (full context)
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...is reading, there is a knock on the door. Outside is an elderly black minister—Stephen. James does not recognize Stephen, but Stephen recognizes James, and immediately begins to shake. They greet... (full context)
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After the servant departs James presses Stephen, insisting that there must be something else between them, based on Stephen's reaction... (full context)
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The mistress returns. James explains to her that Stephen is looking for the daughter of Sibeko. The mistress says... (full context)
Book II, Chapter 26
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...because with the right intentions, his oration could be a great tool for good. Meanwhile, James Jarvis is also in the crowd with John Harrison, also having just heard the speech.... (full context)
Book II, Chapter 29
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Meanwhile, James and Margaret are also preparing to leave Johannesburg. James leaves a large sum of money... (full context)
Book III, Chapter 30
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
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...finding water, they tell him that they draw water from the river that comes from James Jarvis’s place. When Stephen asks about him, they say that he has just returned from... (full context)
Book III, Chapter 31
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...inside. Stephen knows who the boy is—he recognizes the son of Arthur Jarvis, grandson of James Jarvis. The boy asks for ice-cold milk, and when Stephen explains that they have neither... (full context)
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...as they’re eating dinner, a man comes by with milk for the children, sent by James Jarvis. Stephen is beside himself with astonishment and happiness. (full context)
Book III, Chapter 32
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When Stephen goes outside, he sees a strange scene—the magistrate, James Jarvis, and other white men are arranging sticks in the ground near the church. The... (full context)
Book III, Chapter 33
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...for a dam. Absalom’s wife is doing well, and takes good care of Gertrude’s son. James has been gone from Ndotsheni for some time. One day, the young boy comes riding... (full context)
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...by the church. He is the new agricultural demonstrator, Napoleon Letsitsi. He was hired by James to help teach farming and care of the earth to the people of Ndotsheni. Stephen... (full context)
Book III, Chapter 34
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Stephen learns from the man who brings the milk that James Jarvis’ wife has just died. Stephen wishes to go pay his and the community’s respects... (full context)
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...the young boy whom Stephen had sent with the message returns with a note from James. The note thanks Stephen for his kindness, and says that it was Margaret’s will to... (full context)
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...Stephen finds his wife and some other women making a simple but beautiful wreath for James. (full context)
Book III, Chapter 35
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...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,... (full context)
Book III, Chapter 36
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As he begins on the path, he sees James Jarvis. James thanks him for the flowers, and says that the plans for the new... (full context)