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I Am Woman, Hear My Favorite Essay

Project id 1001594
Subject area Arts Entertainment
Document type Essay
Words 2735
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People have a unique ability to express themselves clearly and profoundly without speaking a word. How someone sighs, cries, yells, or groans exposes his emotion and state of mind. It's a gift that most people endure, this power to display emotion through instinctual sound. Novelist Alan Paton has a strong grasp on this component of the human condition, exemplifying this in his treatment of women in the novel Cry, the Beloved Country. In Paton's stark, poetic prose, the only manner in which a woman laughs or weeps signifies an whole volume of depth and feeling, providing the reader with a glimpse into the inner workings of gender roles in South African culture. Through the laughter and the wailing in Cry, the Beloved Country, Paton enriches his searing portrayal of life within an apartheid country by honestly depicting the battles of South African girls. For the most part, the women of the novel are only secondary personalities, bearing small significance or influence over the plot. Almost all of them have no first names: for example, Absalom's girlfriend, Mrs. Lithebe, Mrs. Mkize, also Mrs. Ndlela. In another case of feminine namelessness, Absalom tells his dad, the minister Stephen Kumalo, that when his unborn child is a boy, '' he wants him to be appointed Peter. However, if asked about a girl, Absalom says, "No, if it's a daughter, I have not thought of any title" (206). Within this subtle but noticeable technique, Paton reveals that the native women of South Africa have no definition in themselves, but for the guys in their lives, with one notable exception. This exclusion is a scarlet woman, a woman with a sullied reputation, a woman infamous for engaging in the forbidden "careless laughter" (119). She is Gertrude, Kumalo's sis...

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