Cry the Beloved Country: Novel Summary: Book III Chapters 34-36

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Book III Chapters 34-36

 

Book III: Chapters 34-36
Kumalo is brought news that Jarvis's wife has died. Kumalo writes a letter of sympathy on behalf of everyone in the church and has a boy deliver it to Jarvis's house.
A bishop arrives and performs a confirmation ceremony for the children in the church. The bishop later advises Kumalo to leave Ndotsheni because the father of the man Absalom murdered is his neighbor. He should go someplace where no one knows what happened. The bishop also wants to spare Kumalo the trouble and anxiety of rebuilding the church, which is in a state of disrepair.
At that moment, a letter is delivered from Jarvis, thanking Kumalo for his message of sympathy, and saying that it was his wife's last wish that a new church should be built in Ndotsheni. This letter convinces the bishop that Kumalo should stay in Ndotsheni.
After the bishop departs, some of the villagers make a wreath to send to the Jarvis family. One man goes all the way to Carisbrooke to get the white arum lilies that the white people use on such occasions.
As the days go by, Letsitsi teaches the people how to farm. The dam is under construction, and there is a new spirit and new life in the village. There is hope once more.
The evening before the execution of Absalom, Kumalo sets out for the mountain high above Carisbrooke. On the way there, he encounters Jarvis, who says he will shortly be moving to Johannesburg to live with his daughter. Kumalo explains that he is on his way up the mountain. Jarvis says he understands, and speaks with a compassion that makes Kumalo weep. Jarvis also says that he intends to continue financing the project to revitalize Ndotsheni.
Kumalo climbs the mountain and keeps a vigil until dawn, sleeping fitfully. He thinks deeply about the events of the last few months and what he has learned from them. At four in the morning he wakes and prays. Then he watches the dawn come, for Absalom is to be executed at dawn.
Analysis
Although the novel ends with the tragedy of the Kumalo family, as Stephen keeps vigil for his condemned son, the dominant tone of these chapters is of hope, compassion and reconciliation between the races. Jarvis keeps faith with his support for the village, and the villagers go out of their way to express their sympathy for the Jarvis family after the death of Margaret Jarvis. Social change is happening because individuals have changed, and they have changed because they have reached out and learned to understand one another.

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