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Cry, the Beloved Country. Alan Paton 1903-1988. Author’s Background. Born in Pietermaritzburg in the Natal Province in eastern South Africa, a region once known as Zululand Parents were devout Christians Attended Natal University College, where he studied mathematics and physics

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cry the beloved country

Cry, the Beloved Country

Alan Paton


author s background
Author’s Background
  • Born in Pietermaritzburg in the Natal Province in eastern South Africa, a region once known as Zululand
  • Parents were devout Christians
  • Attended Natal University College, where he studied mathematics and physics
  • was principal of the Diepkloof Reformatory for black youths in Johannesburg—improved conditions and sought to rehabilitate
cry the beloved country1
Cry, the Beloved Country
  • Published in February 1948
  • Novel was a huge success in Europe and U.S. but unpopular in South Africa
  • The novel was translated into Zulu and a number of other languages and has sold well over 15 million copies
paton s social conscience
Paton’s Social Conscience
  • Paton is considered a reformer and used his novels, short stories and essays as vehicles for his strong philosophical and moral viewpoints.
  • Strove to promote social change, particularly with regard to the treatment of native South Africans and the preservation of the land
comments on cry
Comments on Cry
  • “Although circumstances drew Paton into political activity, it would be improper to regard this novel as a political document. While a primary concern of art is a formal beauty that may reflect justice, a primary concern of politics is the pursuit of power, and literature that serves it is propaganda, not art. Cry, the Beloved Country is not propaganda.” Professor Callen
literary techniques
Literary Techniques
  • Intercalary Chapters or “Inserted”—a passage that is not part of the narrative and does not involve the main characters. Usually used to make a thematic point, or to describe a scene that is apart from the action.
  • Dialogue---Paton’s use of dashes, rather than quotation marks, serves to quicken the pace of the dialogue and to emphasize words, rather than the speaker. Speaker is rarely identified, requiring the reader to pay careful attention.
literary techniques continued
Literary Techniques, Continued
  • Repetition of phrases, paragraphs and description
  • Language---use of Afrikaan words, such as veld, kraal, inkosana and umfumdisi. Note: the word “native” is used exclusively to refer to black descendants of tribal Africans and not to the whites who had lived in South Africa for generations.
genre the social realism novel
Genre: The Social Realism Novel
  • Movement began the second half of the 19th century as artists and writers rebelled against Romanticism’s idealized portrayal of life.
  • Focused on the harsh realities of the Industrial Revolution and the problems created by a growing urban migration.
  • The goal of art for the Realist is to achieve verisimilitude—to portray people, landscapes, and social situations as they actually were—giving a “slice of life” with photographic accuracy.
classic traits of the social realism work
Classic traits of the Social Realism work
  • Vivid, unflinching, and usually unsentimental descriptions of actual places, though frequently these places are given fictional names
  • A plot that centers on a social or political conflict or problem. Common themes are racial injustice, the oppression of the poor, the degradation of the land, the problems caused by urban migration
  • Complex and often flawed characters or archetypal characters that represent different facets of society.
history of south africa
History of South Africa
  • Dutch arrived in 1652 and established Capetown. Within 5 years they began importing slaves.
  • Over the next 100 years, Dutch, German, and French Huguenot immigrants settled South Africa, pushing deeper in to tribal regions. These settlers were known as Afrikaners, or Boers, who developed a common language know as Afrikaans.
  • In 1795 Britain wrested control of Capetown from the Dutch, which led to a century of sporadic fighting over control of the region.
sa history continued
SA History, Continued
  • In 1820, British immigrants settled on the eastern coast of South Africa, in an attempt to push back the native tribes in that region.
  • British missionaries, opposed to slavery, arrived in the early 1800s and caused further division between the British and slave-owning Dutch.
and more boer history
And More Boer History
  • After Britain outlawed slavery, the Boers began a moving north and east of Capetown and formed two republics—the Orange Free State and the Transvaal or ZAR.
  • This division led to the Boer Wars in the from the late 1880s-early 1900s, in which Britain emerges as the victor.
apartheid separateness
  • 1948-1990—Laws aimed at segregating races and maintaining strict control over non-whites—legalized racial discrimination by:
    • Prohibiting inter-racial marriages
    • Barring blacks from holding jobs classified as “skilled labor,” or almost all well-paying jobs
    • Mandating separate schools and hospitals
    • Restricting the movement of blacks through “pass laws” which required blacks to carry passes with ID and fingerprints
    • Restricted land ownership by blacks
    • Required all South Africans to register by race
apartheid in the 50s and 60s
Apartheid in the ‘50s and ‘60s
  • 1951—government established reserves or “homelands” and assigned Africans to these homelands according to their tribe of origin. This stripped native blacks of their South African citizenship.
  • 1960s—the UN called for sanctions against the Republic of South Africa to protest apartheid and human rights but had little effect for three decades.
  • 1964--Nelson Mandela, the leader of the anti-Apartheid movement, was tried for treason and sentenced to life in prison.
end of apartheid
End of Apartheid
  • 1976—a peaceful march by Soweto schoolchildren turns deadly when police fire into the crowd, sparking rioting and international outrage.
  • 1980s—international pressure mounted
  • 1990—South Africa freed Mandela and began repealing apartheid laws
  • 1994—blacks and mixed-race South Africans were allowed to vote, electing Mandela president. He served until 1999.