Kat's Reviews > Cry, the Beloved Country
Cry, the Beloved Country
by Alan Paton
by Alan Paton
I am a teacher and, after 34 years, attempt to find new combinations in the catalogue of "must reads." I have done this as a staple for years. Last year, when deciding what I wanted to do - kind of like window shopping for lovely clothes -- I decided to read this book after reading Hamlet. I love the mirrored plot structure. I adore the fact that the land is a character. The moral imperative and subsequent hemming and hawing in Hamlet takes on a different light and life in the beautifully wrought quest into the valley of death by Stephen Kumalo. The gentle prod of grace, of questions, of moral hues and tones take me back to the wasteland scene in Hamlet. After speaking with the captain on his way to death against the Polish, Hamlet finally has his epiphany. For Stephen, the wasteland shifts, but the same 20,000 + on their way to death in a mine is the same moral imperative. My students are slowly putting the plots together and the depth that they are mining (pun intended) is impressive. I am quite pleased. They had trouble with the flow of dialogue at first, but they also had trouble starting in medias res in Hamlet. So goes the way with 15 and 16 year old students. We are going to next move to Eliot's wasteland for a quick jaunt through 20th century gardens and graves. Paton is a treasure - put on his shoes, or discover the link with the land through the unshod feet and understand how two men and their families, their villages can wrestle with ethical dilemmas and the imperative of humanity. Powerful when put together! * of particular delight - one of my students noticed two items: the use of Gertrude in both and also the idea of kairos! I was so happy. This is what makes books come alive. When we share, we grow.
Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Cry, the Beloved Country.sign in »