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Fatal FictionsCrime and Investigation in Law and Literature$
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Alison L. LaCroix, Richard H. McAdams, and Martha C. Nussbaum

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190610784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190610784.001.0001

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Reconciliation without Anger

Reconciliation without Anger

Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country

(p.177) 9 Reconciliation without Anger
Fatal Fictions

Martha C. Nussbaum

Oxford University Press

Chapter 9 investigates the connections between anger, injustice, and political change in Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country. Nussbaum argues against the common view that anger is a necessary motivation to political mobilization or a necessary creative force for change. The common view includes the idea that political reconciliation requires public atonement by the unjust and public forgiveness by their victims. Nussbaum describes the novel as showing a personal analogue of the public alternative by which a nation riven by injustice might change. The protagonists are two fathers: a black man whose son has murdered a white man, and a white man whose son is the murder victim. The scenario is a natural one for the classic drama of contrition, apology, and forgiveness, but instead the two fathers turn aside from anger to imagine, with generosity, a future of interracial cooperation and constructive work.

Keywords:   Alan Paton, reconciliation, anger, apartheid, South Africa, Nelson Mandela

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