By Harold Bloom (ed)
Read Online or Download Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country; New Edition (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations) PDF
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Extra resources for Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country; New Edition (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)
In the ﬁnal essay of Language And Silence, George Steiner, discussing whether revolutionary art will succeed in producing ‘high’ revolutionary tragedy, remarks: no less than a tragedy with God, with a compensating mechanism of ﬁnal justice and retribution, a tragedy without God, a tragedy 36 Stephen Watson of pure immanence, is a self-contradiction. Genuine tragedy is inseparable from the mystery of injustice, from the conviction that man is a precarious guest in a world where forces of unreason have dark governance.
So, giving a real date and time for any ﬁctional event need not throw up any problem of ambiguous chronology, as long as the invented incidents do not conﬂict with it. We are, thus able to think of Arthur Jarvis’s murder as happening in ﬁctional and historical time simultaneously, thereby giving convincingness to an imaginary happening. But a puzzling ambiguity can occur if a writer does the opposite, that is, introduce into an imaginary account events that are recorded historically. Real calendars and maps are then superimposed on the mock world of the ﬁction.
Pp. 258–59) In so far as Cry, the Beloved Country records an antagonism between a basically materialist view of South Africa’s conflicts (which is reflected in John Cry, the Beloved Country and the Failure of Liberal Vision 43 Kumalo’s attitudes and ideas) and an idealist attempt to solve them (reflected in the ideas of Stephen and Msimangu), it can be regarded as a rudimentary novel of ideas. But Paton never develops this antagonism to the point where it would become truly meaningful. Indeed, he cannot; his ideology prevents him from doing so.