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Cry, the Beloved Country

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The Hobbit

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Biblical Allusions

Cry, the Beloved Country is full of biblical allusions. The characters are named after biblical figures, and the trials of Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis are reminiscent of the book of Job. Regardless of whether one is Christian or not, the Bible can be appreciated for its rich store of parables, symbols, and imagery, which often find their way into other literature in the form of allusions. Allusions allow authors to imbue their characters and plots with deeper levels of meaning. Please take note of these biblical meanings on the left side in your Double-Entry Journal, and then explain how they are appropriate on the right side (after you've read most of the novel). See below for more instructions.

Absalom: son of King David, who rebelled against his father. He was killed by Joab, and when King David heard about it, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and he uttered the famous cry, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee" (II Samuel 18:9-33). King David felt this grief even though Absalom had betrayed him. Character: Absalom Kumalo

Stephen: St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr. He was preaching the Christian faith and was stoned to death for blasphemy (against the Jewish tradition). Character: Stephen Kumalo

John: famous prophet of the coming of Christ; sometimes called "John the Baptist." Character: John Kumalo

James: the brother of Jesus. There are at least two other characters in the Bible named James, but the allusion is most likely to Jesus' brother, due to a significant passage in Acts 15:13-19. Character: James Jarvis

Theophilus--Greek for "loved by God." Character: Theophilus Msimangu

Book of Job: Job is famous for his patience through a series of trials designed by Satan to destroy his faith in God. (Some really terrible stuff happens to him, but he never gives up.) Characters: Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis

In your Double-Entry Journal, reserve a page or three for your thoughts on why Paton included these biblical allusions. Why are they significant? In other words, how do these allusions add to the meaning of the novel? In what way(s) are they appropriate to the characters?


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