Alan Paton and Cry, The Beloved Country

I am currently writing an essay about how Alan Paton's life and the apartheid influenced and caused him to write so deeply about what was going on in South Africa during the time of the novel. I have typed almost a page and 1/3, but I am running out of ideas/reasons. Does anyone know an issue in Alan Paton's life that could have caused him to write so well in his book.

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I think the book is very autobiographical and written straight from the heart. I knew that Alan Paton was a teacher, but I didn't know, when I first read the book, that for 12 or 13 years, from about 1935, Paton was the principal of a reformatory for young African offenders, where he brought in many controversial and progressive changes. He instituted an open dormitory within the compound and once a boy had demonstrated that he was trustworthy, he would be moved into this unlocked facility; many of them were allowed to work outside the institution, some of them living off-site with foster families; many were permitted to visit their families. Apparently less than one per cent of the ten thousand boys who were granted home visitation betrayed Paton's trust and failed to return.

    I also hadn't realized that he actually founded and led the S.A. Liberal Party, established to fight apartheid legislation brought in by the ruling National Party after 1948. Although Paton was noted for his peaceful opposition (as were many other members), some adopted a more direct and violent approach, and all suffered for it. Ironically, Paton's passport was confiscated in 1960 when he returned home to S.A. after visiting New York City to receive the annual Freedom Award.

    (This is my fourth attempt to answer this question. Having removed symbols, and punctuation where possible, I'll keep my fingers crossed that this one won’t be wiped out by a “coffee break”.)

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