A few days ago

Help with an essay on Cry, The Beloved Country?

How does the author reveal the characterization fo a major or minor character using literary techniques?

Just looking for some starting points…

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A few days ago

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I’ve never read this book before, however, here’s a site that provides a literary study guide for your book:

1) http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/cry/ (you should probably visit the “Themes, Motifs & Symbols” and “character list” sections)

2) This site provides techniques, thematic overview, characters, style, literary precedents and compare and contrast for your book:


3) This is from Wikipedia:

Paton makes frequent use of literary devices such as microcosms, intercalary chapters, dashes instead of quotation marks for dialogue, and a number of other things to show the state of South Africa. A microcosm is a form of symbolism that uses a small thing to depict something on a larger scale. Intercalary chapters are literally chapters that are ‘in between’: they have almost nothing to do with the story, but often are microcosms. There are no double quotes in the whole book; instead Paton uses dashes (–) to indicate the start of speech acts. This may not seem like a literary device at first, but soon it becomes evident that they do a lot more than would be expected. Because there are no phrases such as “he said” or “she said”, it is faster to read and, especially in the intercalary chapters, adds a feeling of desperation and rapid progress towards the novel’s final catastrophe.

Allusions/references to other works

There are many biblical references throughout the novel. The most evident is found from the names Paton gives to the characters. Absalom, the son of Stephen Kumalo, shares his name with the son of King David, who rose up against his father in rebellion. Also, in the New Testament Book of Acts, Saint Stephen was a martyr who died rather than give up his beliefs. Another biblical allusion is seen when Absalom requests that his son’s name be Peter. In the Bible, Peter refused to listen to God. After all those denials, he later on repented for all the sins he has committed. Like in the book, Absalom “murdered” Jarvis’ son and later on repented under a tree for the “murder” he has committed. Arthur Jarvis is described as having a large collection of books on Abraham Lincoln, and the writings of Lincoln figure heavily in the novel.


4) This site offers a literary analysis of Cry, The Beloved Country; you should probably take a look at the sections titled “metaphor analysis” and “character profiles”


5) You could also purchase Cry, the Beloved Country Notes (Cliffs Notes) – Study Notes from your local bookstore.

6) A bunch of sites that may be of use:





This isn’t the way to go about understanding books for university courses (ie. plagiarism, lack of academic sources and self ability to understand and provide your own analysis, etc.), however, this is a good way to start for and more suited for highschool. Good luck with your essay!


6 years ago
what are some literary elements in the book?