After Paton wrote this book, he and hundreds of other South Africans who opposed the policies of the government and who tried to change those policies by legal, democratic means were charged with treason and often jailed. Newspapers were closed down, and many foreign writers, magazines, books, and newspapers were banned from entering the country. Cry, the Beloved Country is strongly influenced by the American novel The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, published in 1939. Like The Grapes of Wrath, Paton's novel uses the language of the Bible, has a number of parallels with the Biblical story of Job (Steinbeck's book deals with a family named Joad), and is what is called a "social protest novel." Novels of this sort have existed almost as long as the novel form has existed. In fact, the book widely accepted as the first English novel, Samuel Richardson's
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