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Word Count: 659
When an author conjures up an idea for a novel his or her ultimate intent is to entertain the reader However oftentimes an author will add an underlying theme to convey a message that he or she feels is important Rather than writing an essay or editorial blatantly expressing an opinion blending it into a story allows the author to reach more people with the message and make it easily understood much like parables in the Bible In Alan Patons Cry the Beloved Country a story of an honest man searching to restore the old way of life in a decaying society reveals the authors apparent feelings toward the importance of religion tribal unity and social reform Alan Paton a strongly devoted Christian uses Cry the Beloved Country to stress the significance of religion through characters Stephen Kumalo is the driven and pious minister who acts as the center and voice of reason in the family When his sister Gertrude and son Absalom defect to the evil city Stephen dutifully sets off to find them He eventually learns his sister has become a prostitute and his son a murderer Absalom meets a fateful end and Gertrude resumes her dissolute way of life Consequently the reader realizes a life without God results in a void of virtue and purpose Through Stephen one sees Patons intent to show the worth of religion as it pertains to the strength initiation and satisfaction Stephen gets out of helping others Msimangu states the central problem of the novel one of a people caught between two worlds The old way of life in which tribal adherence respect for the chief and tradition are stressed has disintegrated under the pressure of false optimism in the city Currently the natives live in an unstructured world where there are no values and no order to follow Absalom and Gertrude who lose their old values and become part of the new lawless life in Johannesburg
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