An affluent white farmer in Carisbrooke, a town near Kumalo's village of Ndotsheni, James Jarvis undergoes a profound transformation as the novel unfolds. When we first meet him and his wife, he represents a prototypical white South African—confused about his son's decision to forgo his place in society to be an activist and generally disengaged in the political struggles of the native people in his homeland. In dealing with his son's death, he finds a wellspring of character and fortuitousness that allows him not only to honor his son's legacy but also to forgive the black man who killed him and begin reaching out in his community. In many ways, James Jarvis signifies Paton's hope for white South Africans—and his country as a whole.


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