Beloved depicts the horrors faced by slaves in the South before the Civil War. The novel shows the dehumanizing effect of slavery on the people who suffered under it, even decades after it was outlawed. After escaping from her owners, Sethe kills her baby daughter when a group of men appears to bring her and her family back to the plantation. Years later, the murdered daughter continues to haunt the family, as a ghost everyone calls Beloved.
Cry, the Beloved Country is the story of Stephen Kumalo, a black priest from a backwoods Natal village in South Africa. Stephen travels to Johannesburg where racial tensions are boiling toward a future dominated by Apartheid. In the city he searches for his son, Absalom, whom he discovers has been accused of the murder of his white neighbor's son. The novel dwells on loss, injustice, and the modern world before ending on Absalom's execution and the heartbreak of both Stephen and his neighbor, James.