In Alan Paton’s note on the 1987 edition of Cry, the Beloved Country, he tells us a story: when the first two readers of his manuscript, Aubrey and Marigold Burns, asked him what he would call his novel, he challenged them to a game. All three of them wrote down the title they liked on a piece of paper before comparing them. All of them wrote down "Cry, the Beloved Country." The title comes from a phrase that repeats several times within the novel.
Arthur Jarvis’s emotions reflect the love of country that real-life author Alan Paton feels towards South Africa. He’s not writing this bleak portrait of 1940s South Africa out of hatred for the country’s faults. Instead. Paton proves that wanting to reform his home country is a sign of his great love for South Africa, for its landscape, its cultures, and its history. Indeed, Paton writes, in his note on the 1987 edition of the book, that the phrase Cry, the Beloved Country, "was written by one who indeed had loved the earth deeply, by one who had been moved when the birds of his land were singing".