Harold Bloom (ed)'s Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country; New Edition (Bloom's PDF

By Harold Bloom (ed)

ISBN-10: 1604135832

ISBN-13: 9781604135831

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Extra resources for Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country; New Edition (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)

Example text

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. (p. 127) It is this social disintegration which constitutes the central problem to which the novel addresses itself. At the same time, however, a certain ideology, which is an amalgam of liberalism and Christianity, is brought to bear upon this problem.

Like the law which has been formulated as an expression and defence of the interests of white South Africa alone, and which therefore has no credibility whatsoever as an impersonal god, these misfortunes are quite explicable in terms of the man-made reality and historical conditions of South Africa in the first half of this century. Cry, the Beloved Country is thus a tragedy of “pure immanence” on top of which a mystifying Christian concern with suffering and joy has been imposed. In short, it is not genuine tragedy at all.

But if, for example, a character is described as going to the police with information about a murder that has just happened on the day before the murder occurs, we sit up incredulously. A mistake of this kind—an incongruity in fictional time—would destroy the artistic illusion, and writers take care not to make this kind of error. 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.

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Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country; New Edition (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations) by Harold Bloom (ed)


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