Cry, the Beloved Country

Cry, the Beloved Country

Earth/Land Symbol Analysis

Earth/Land Symbol Icon
The earth/land of South Africa is the stabilizing force for her inhabitants. Where she (the earth is often referred to as a kind of mother) is respected and loved, she is nourishing, healthy, and able to support her people. Where she is destroyed—through urbanization (Johannesburg), through mining (the search for gold)—there is corruption, decay, drought, and a resulting poverty, starvation and thirst, etc. The most elemental of these symbols, she is also the most consistent. When her land is stripped and drought is followed by heavy rain, the earth is rightly described as “bleeding.” She is her people, and her people are her, and destruction of one begins a cycle of destruction for the other. Where the earth/land is referenced in Cry, The Beloved Country, look at her treatment by her citizens—if she’s being hurt, they will be hurt. If she is being supported, good things will follow.

Earth/Land Quotes in Cry, the Beloved Country

The Cry, the Beloved Country quotes below all refer to the symbol of Earth/Land. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Cry, the Beloved Country published in 2003.
Book I, Chapter 1 Quotes

There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills. These hills are grass-covered and rolling, and they are lovely beyond any singing of it. The road climbs seven miles into them, to Carisbrooke; and from there, if there is no mist, you look down on one of the fairest valleys of Africa… The grass is rich and matted, you cannot see the soil. It holds the rain and the mist, and they seep into the ground, feeding the streams in every kloof. It is well-tended, and not too many cattle feed upon it; not too many fires burn it, laying bare the soil. Stand unshod upon it, for the ground is holy, being even as it came from the Creator. Keep it, guard it, care for it, for it keeps men, guards men, cares for men. Destroy it and man is destroyed.

Related Symbols: Earth/Land
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Where you stand the grass is rich and matted, you cannot see the soil. But the rich green hills break down. They fall to the valley below, and falling, change their nature. For they grow red and bare; they cannot hold the rain and mist, and the streams are dry in the kloofs. Too many cattle feed upon the grass, and too many fires have burned it. Stand shod upon it, for it is coarse and sharp, and the stones cut under the feet. It is not kept, or guarded, or cared for, it no longer keeps men, guards men, cares for men. The titihoya does not cry here any more.

Related Symbols: Earth/Land
Page Number: 23-24
Explanation and Analysis:

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Down in the valleys women scratch the soil that is left, and the maize hardly reaches the height of a man. They are valleys of old men and old women, of mothers and children. The men are away, the young men and the girls are away. The soil cannot keep them any more.

Related Symbols: Johannesburg, Earth/Land
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book I, Chapter 9 Quotes

All roads lead to Johannesburg. If you are white or if you are black they lead to Johannesburg. If the crops fail, there is work in Johannesburg. If there are taxes to be paid, there is work in Johannesburg. If the farm is too small to be divided further, some must go to Johannesburg. If there is a child to be born that must be delivered in secret, it can be delivered in Johannesburg.

Related Symbols: Johannesburg, Money/Gold, Earth/Land
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book I, Chapter 11 Quotes

There is not much talking now. A silence falls upon them all. This is no time to talk of hedges and fields, or the beauties of any country. Sadness and fear and hate, how they well up in the heart and mind, whenever one opens pages of these messengers of doom. Cry for the broken tribe, for the law and the custom that is gone. Aye, and cry aloud for the man who is dead, for the woman and children bereaved. Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end. The sun pours down on the earth, on the lovely land that man cannot enjoy. He knows only the fear of his heart.

Related Symbols: Earth/Land
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book I, Chapter 12 Quotes

Some cry for the cutting up of South Africa without delay into separate areas, where white can live without black, and black without white, where black can farm their own land and mine their own minerals and administer their own laws. And others cry away with the compound system, that brings men to the towns without their wives and children, and breaks up the tribe and the house and the man, and they ask for the establishment of villages for the labourers in mines and industry.

Related Symbols: Money/Gold, Earth/Land
Page Number: 99-
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.

Related Symbols: Earth/Land
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book II, Chapter 20 Quotes

The old tribal system was, for all its violence and savagery, for all its superstition and witchcraft, a moral system. Our natives today produce criminals and prostitutes and drunkards, not because it is their nature to do so, but because their simple system of order and tradition and convention has been destroyed. It was destroyed by the impact of our own civilization. Our civilization has therefore an inescapable duty to set up another system of order and tradition and convention. It is true that we hoped to preserve the tribal system by a policy of segregation. That was permissible. But we never did it thoroughly or honestly. We set aside one-tenth of the land for four-fifths of the people. Thus we made it inevitable, and some say we did it knowingly, that labour would come to the towns. We are caught in the toils of our own selfishness.

Related Characters: Arthur Jarvis (speaker)
Related Symbols: Johannesburg, Money/Gold, Earth/Land
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book II, Chapter 23 Quotes

For mines are for men, not for money. And money is not something to go mad about, and throw your hat into the air for. Money is for food and clothes and comfort, and a visit to the pictures. Money is to make happy the lives of children. Money is for security, and for dreams, and for hopes, and for purposes. Money is for buying the fruits of the earth, of the land where you were born.

Related Characters: Arthur Jarvis (speaker)
Related Symbols: Money/Gold, Earth/Land
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book II, Chapter 24 Quotes

One can read, as I read when I was a boy, the brochures about lovely South Africa, that land of sun and beauty sheltered from the storms of the world, and feel pride in it and love for it, and yet know nothing about it at all. It is only as one grows up that one learns that there are other things here than sun and gold and oranges. It is only then that one learns of the hates and fears of our country. It is only then that one's love grows deep and passionate, as a man may love a woman who is true, false, cold, loving, cruel and afraid.

Related Characters: Arthur Jarvis (speaker)
Related Symbols: Earth/Land
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book III, Chapter 36 Quotes

The great valley of the Umzimkulu is still in darkness, but the light will come there. Ndotsheni is still in darkness, but the light will come there also. For it is the dawn that has come, as it has come for a thousand centuries, never failing. But when that dawn will come, of our emancipation, from the fear of bondage and the bondage of fear, why, that is a secret.

Related Symbols: Earth/Land
Page Number: 304
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Earth/Land Symbol Timeline in Cry, the Beloved Country

The timeline below shows where the symbol Earth/Land appears in Cry, the Beloved Country. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book I, Chapter 1
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
...the birds, the mountains, and the road that leads into them. Cattle graze on the ground, but not enough to overgraze and the land. The ground holds moisture and life, and... (full context)
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
Christian Faith Theme Icon
The narrator states that you should stand barefoot upon this earth, because it’s sacred, and from God. The narrator instructs you to take care of the... (full context)
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
...overgrazing of cattle, and misuse. The narrator tells you that if you stand on this ground barefoot, you will cut your feet. Man did not take care of it, and now... (full context)
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Families Theme Icon
The earth is torn apart, and it can no longer hold its young people. Only the elderly... (full context)
Book I, Chapter 5
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
...seen before. Then Stephen and all the priests eat together, and talk about how the land and people of Ixopo are suffering, and the general “sickness of the land,” resulting in... (full context)
Book I, Chapter 9
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
Racism and Apartheid Theme Icon
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
...voices in a kind of Greek chorus. They tell of how the brokenness of the land and people leads directly into Johannesburg. People go there in droves, and they are constantly... (full context)
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
Racism and Apartheid Theme Icon
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
...sicker and sicker, her mother sings to her, reminisces of the natural beauty of the land where they came from, turning into cries of fear. The child is dying. A man... (full context)
Book II, Chapter 18
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
...narrator returns to the hills above Ixopo, repeating the same praises and description of the earth as in Chapter 1. But instead of looking down, the narrator shows High Place, the... (full context)
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Families Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
James observes the plowing of his fields. There is a drought, and the earth is dry and hard. As he walks, he worries about the people in the valley... (full context)
Book II, Chapter 20
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
Racism and Apartheid Theme Icon
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Families Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
...structure and the creation of criminals. He also points out that setting aside not enough land for a majority of the population is a dishonest way to go about solving the... (full context)
Book II, Chapter 22
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
Christian Faith Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Families Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
...He also tells the court that after the murder, he buried the revolver in the ground, and then prayed for forgiveness. Afterwards, when the police came searching for one of his... (full context)
Book III, Chapter 30
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
...he has been missed. They tell Stephen about the drought that has been parching the land. When Stephen asks how they have been finding water, they tell him that they draw... (full context)
Book III, Chapter 31
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
...As he walks to see the chief, he observes how the drought has brutalized the land. (full context)
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
...a way to retain their working people, by teaching people how to care for the earth. The chief assures Stephen that such things are already being taught in school, in a... (full context)
Book III, Chapter 32
The City vs. Nature Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Families Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
...a strange scene—the magistrate, James Jarvis, and other white men are arranging sticks in the ground near the church. The storm clouds grow fiercer and fiercer, and the storm comes up... (full context)
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
That night, the community is puzzled about the nature of the sticks in the ground. The children play games around them. The man with the milk makes his delivery, and... (full context)
Book III, Chapter 33
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Families Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
...Napoleon Letsitsi. He was hired by James to help teach farming and care of the earth to the people of Ndotsheni. Stephen asks Napoleon if he would like to stay with... (full context)
The Land and the Tribe Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Families Theme Icon
Understanding/Knowledge vs. Ignorance/Naiveté Theme Icon
...holidays, and then rides away. As Stephen watches him go, Napoleon tells him that this land and valley can be again what it was in the past. Stephen says that he... (full context)