Transversal: An Intersection of Two Parallel Lines.
The quote “for such a thing is not lightly done” can be portrayed as a dictum to describe the relationship between the Reverend Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis because of the fact that it is interracial – and such a thing is not lightly done in South Africa. These two men, derived from the novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton are both pivotal and symbolic characters that depict the situation between blacks and whites in South Africa. Although both men live in the same town, they only cross paths with each other when they lose their sons, in which Kumalo’s son Absalom, kills Jarvis” son, Arthur.
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The two characters delineate a parallelism in the book. Paton breaks his novel in three “books,” or parts. He gives each character a distinction. In Book I he describes the journey of Stephen Kumalo and likewise in Book II, he tells the journey of James Jarvis. In Book III, he describes the interrelation. The fact that they are analogous creates many differences and similarities. The most blatant discrepancy is that Kumalo is black, and Jarvis is white. Kumalo is a black Angelican priest who goes to Johannesburg by train to aid for his ill sister when the Reverend Msimangu sends him a letter informing him. He journeys to the city to search for her and to look for his son Absalom as a side-quest. Jarvis, an English-speaking farmer, flies to Johannesburg when the police notify him that his son Arthur has been murdered by natives. Despite the aforementioned disparities, Kumalo and Jarvis are synonymous in many ways. For one, they are both from Ndotsheni, Natal. Secondly, they both share love for the land but also fear for inevitable erosion only if the people keep leaving Ndotsheni. They both have loyal wives who contributed much to some of their important actions. They are both fathers who left to Johannesburg. They learn many things about their sons that they never knew, but only to discover that they are strangers to them as well.