I am an international student, who has come to study in United States for three years. My enthusiasm and ambition for my future lead me to change my fate. I decide to study in America, which is half of the earth away from my hometown. After reading Cry, The Beloved Country, I understood black people’s attitudes, situations and emotions, and realized they are similar to me. For instance, both of us left our hometowns, there were conflicts in both places, and these conflicts created many troubles for us in our lives. My goal differs with the characters in the book, but I still believe that we have a point in common. We tend to leave our hometown because we want to gain a new future.
In the first chapter of the book, I perceived the conflict between rural and urban life. Both places are different in population, economy and community. I noticed there was some thing that the author placed emphasis on in both cities, causing him to compare the two. As I continue to read this book, I started to notice the concern of both cities. Obviously, their issues in both cities are still different. However, I remembered the moment that the students in my school decided to donate clothes, money and so on for people facing poverty. We tend to help these poor people because we understand the difficulties, which they have face. We want to give them an opportunity to overcome these troubles. We also desire to rid all poverty of our citizens in our country. Through these memories, I’m aware of the weakness in the Ndotsheni village, including a lack of education because they are poor. It leads many residents to decide to move to the Johannesburg city. The Johannesburg city is a developed city where a lot of immigrants come to gain an opportunity for new life. But, it is also the weakness of Johannesburg because its prosperity attracts the poor people from the village. Poor people come to Johannesburg without education so, there is no way for them to find a job. Their situation directs them to have a job but it doesn’t contribute to developing Johannesburg. I began to question: Why can’t both cities combine into one big city? So they can solve each other’s problems. Johannesburg can support education for Ndotsheni village. After having education, people in Ndotsheni village can build Johannesburg with their knowledge. There would be no society conflict in Johannesburg, if that happened.
Furthermore, the book imitates a specific example that represents the result of the conflict in both cities. Through Kumalo’s journey to find his relatives and his son in Johannesburg, I realize the dark side of both societies shaped black people’s fate, who live in poverty so they don’t have enough power to change their fates. The irony of life occurred in their lives. When people understand their fate, they figure out that it may bring struggles to their life, and make them do things they are reluctant to do. These people need to prevent these actions from occurring. However, in the novel, for the African American people, they were unable to avoid the irony of life. For example, Gertrude became a prostitute and Absalom was charged with murder. I know Gertrude became a prostitute because she doesn’t have any other choice for her life. Her property forced her to chose this job and because she needs to provide for her child too. I also understand his son’s fearing when he shot a Native American. Absalom’s scare made him unconsciously kill a Native American. His action was meant to protect himself. He shot him, but he didn’t mean to kill him. I feel pity for Kumalo’s panic when he discovers the fact. I hate the way that the author writes the evolution of the story, but I understand why it was written the way it was. These events can be compared to me when I came to America. I always need to speak English, even though some people laugh at me. But, I could do anything; I could not speak Vietnamese because everyone around me spoke English. This is like Gertrude, she couldn’t find any moral job for her life because her lack of knowledge and her situation. Both of us couldn’t prevent our fate and we couldn’t stop it. The only things we could do are confront and accept our fate. I understand I need to improve English by practicing speaking with every one. Gertrude needs to become a prostitute to provide for her child. These situations exemplify the irony of life. However, I think my situation is better than Gertrude’s, because I receive help from school, teacher and friends. However, she wasn’t receiving anything. Why don’t people give those in poverty and who are African American an opportunity to change their lives? Why don’t we call the volunteers who can find jobs for these people? Even though it is a low ranking job, such as hard labor, and doesn’t have and status, it is always better than prostitution. For me, people can win over the fate because all of us can gain the opportunity to choose the way for our own lives.