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Corruption in Cry, the Beloved Country

Essay by   •  March 10, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,182 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,430 Views

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Corruption in Cry, the Beloved Country

Corruption plagues society. It is the agony of the people, the crying of the land, the discord of society, and the mourning of the individual. Even the most elite of charitable people struggle to elude its all-ensnaring grasp. Those brave individuals who attempt to overthrow corruption are often left broken and devastated. Corruption is denoted as a lack of integrity or honesty, or to ruin, taint, or contaminate ones morality. In the novel Cry, the Beloved Country, this epidemic is rampant in almost all facets of life. Alan Paton, the author, suggests that an effective way to rid the land of this terrible disease would be to dispose of the infected parts or aspects and rebuild them completely without any contaminated attributes.

Problems in the home and family can cause corruption. Quarrels or disagreements in the family cause individuals in that family to rebel and desire to leave home. Other occurrences, such as change in various fields, may also cause members of the family to desire to leave as well. When one leaves home, it is easy to be corrupted by the lack of knowledge and experience of how to take care of himself. This is the story for Kumalo's beloved sister and son. Neither of them has experience of how to manage themselves and end up going the corrupted way. Gertrude ends up prostituting herself because she is not trained in any skill or talent. Absalom, instead of going to school, goes to Johannesburg and, since he lacks talents, resorts to robbery and crime to survive.

Lack of knowledge and experience is not the only cause of corruption. Laziness or idleness can also be a huge factor in corruption. It is part of the human nature to be lazy and take the easiest route. When a difficult task is set before someone, he or she naturally tries to find the easiest way around, therefore doing less work. This is very much the case with Gertrude. Instead of learning new skills, she opts to sell her body in prostitution and brew beer. Neither of these requires much experience, if any at all. These are both considered exceedingly sinful and evil in the eyes of the religiously zealous people in South Africa.

Politics can occasionally contribute to corruption. In John Kumalo's case, it is his ideals of politics that lead to corruption in Stephen Kumalo's eyes. However, the main sign of corruption that Stephen Kumalo sees in his brother is that John has completely abandoned religion in favor of his precious politics. In Ndotsheni, where Kumalo comes from, religion is the center point and focus of life.

Another cause of corruption is a trial youth struggle with today. This is none other than the ever-present molding to social acceptance. Peers frequently misguide youth and occasionally lead them to their downfall. This is the case with Kumalo's son, Absalom. Absalom befriended questionable comrades who were involved in crime. Absalom, by himself, is not a sinful adolescent. His desire to blend in with these friends, however, leads him to do things he would not normally have done. Absalom admitted to knowing that these friends were not virtuous or trustworthy people, but tried to be like them anyway. It is difficult to explain why one would choose this path when he or she knows very well where it could lead. Often, youth think irrationally when faced with trials in their lives. These trials can completely shake any confidence they have in themselves and destroy any standards or beliefs they might have set for themselves.

One of most predominant causes of corruption is the desire for or possession of power. Those who desire power would do just about anything to acquire it, even if it means betraying his own standards. Some who have power often feel they have the right to use it in whichever way they please, even if this means to the detriment of others. These people are often corrupted into paranoid and selfish men. They fear constantly that their power will be taken from them, so they resort to corrupt behavior in order to retain power. This type of corruption strongly applies to John Kumalo. He has a powerful voice and speaks of changing things to make



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