In PatonÆs Cry the Beloved Country, the differences and similarities between Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis embody a number of different themes expressed in the book. For example, Kumalo is family oriented while Jarvis laments he never got to know his son better. Kumalo is rural and embraces the values of rural life, such as family and community, while Jarvis is urban and only eventually comes to appreciate the values of rural life. Likewise, Jarvis initially does not understand the injustices and lack of Christian values extended toward Africans while Kumalo spends his life trying to aid Africans. It is through these differences that similarities between the two men emerge, such as their love of their sons and their eventual understanding that coming together and working together through Christian values are the only hope for all individuals and South Africa itself.
In the first part of the book we come to know Stephen Kumalo, while in the second half we are provided with the perspective of James Jarvis. We find that Kumalo is an embodiment of Christian values and of the rural land. He is a minister who cars for his people and who cares for what is happening in Ixoptie. Early in the novel we see that the land symbolizes the interconnectedness of all things human, but all things human and the land are in jeopardy in South Africa, ôKeep it, guard it, care for it, for it keeps men, guards men, cares for men. Destroy it and man is destroyed,ö (Paton 33). Like the drought that plagues the land and jeopardizes rural inhabitants, so the lack of Christian values extended toward them by whites also threatens to destroy South Africa.
In the course of the novel we discover that Kumalo is very family oriented but his family is being pulled apart by illness and the crime committed by his son. He is a very sacrificing and caring father and sacrifices his sonÆs tuition money to help his sick sister, ôHow can