An important aspect in the novel "Cry, The Beloved Country" written by Alan Paton was setting. Through-out the novel Paton writes about setting with a descriptive style, and with this style also connects setting with other ideas such as racial discrimination and character identity. These ideas are shown through the contrasting locations of rural and urban; Ndotsheni and Johannesberg. Together these concepts helps the reader understand the thoughts of Alan Paton during this problematic time in South Africa. The Rural area is used to represent an important pert of the novel; characters. Rural life is best exemplified by Steven Kumalo and his personality however it also portrays the concept of family, religion, morality and stability which are Steven Kumalo's most treasured values.
The rural area is also important culturally however, more towards the natives. Paton demonstrates racial discrimination in South Africa by the way in which the land is divided within the races. Land is shown to be more valuable culturally and economically through it's location, the natives who first founded South Africa recieve the land lacking in nutrients on the low parts of the land while the whites recieve the more prosperous land on the top of the hill, also demonstrating their superiority. Racial discrimination of this nature is also shown throughout other parts of the world such as New Zealand where the maori tribes also had their land stolen from them, devastating the people. The chaotic urban loctaion of Johannesberg is best exemplified by John Kumalo; this is because of the way his character is portrayed through the development of th novel. Johannesberg also is where families are broken apart it also represents hedonism and atheism he complete opposite of Ndotsheni.
Johannesberg is a placed feared by many rural people because of it's reputation of crime. I believe the cause of this crime can be because of how populated the area is, it is harder to find occupations and homes and this pressures the people, they want to be independent, to be able to live their own lives but cannot. Contrasts between urban and rural society can be shown from the journey of Steven Kumalo. Within the rural community everyone can be rusted but this trust is shattered when Steven arrives to Johannesburg and his money is stolen from him. This event shows the reader how growing up in a different enviroment can hugely affect a persons development, it also shows the risks people have to take to survive. A change in personality is also shown with the literal move of Absalom's pregnant girlfriend from Johannesberg to Ndotsheni, it seems to give her a greater moral sense, she wants to do the best by herself and her baby.
Alan Paton uses conflict between urban and rural society and their various qualities to reflect his ideas. Racial discrimination and a person's development can be hugely changed by their enviroment and Paton makes the reader understand his ideas through his detailed writing style.