Before the death of his son, James Jarvis was a man who found satisfaction in caring for his property and maintaining a clear separation from the outside world. He is basically a good man who instilled in his son solid virtues but never worried about the controversial problems of the time. He always believed in traditional ideas, but in the course of the novel and as a result of the death of his son, he approaches the position of his son. Or at least he is trying to come to some understanding of the racial problem of South Africa, trying to understand his son. In a sense, he becomes almost like his son, by donating money and time, and then organizing things so that the native learns to help himself. Jarvis also feels the suffering of Kumalo even before he recognizes Kumalo.
In parallel, James Jarvis, a white representative of a more privileged class, receives news of the death of his son Arthur, a supporter of ideas of social and racial equality. He immediately sent to Johanessburg in order to find out everything that happened.
James Jarvis, trying to find out what happened to Arthur all this time before his death, finds materials showing the entire work of his son, who was trying to fight against social inequality that prevailed in the country. Looking through all these works, James, who has always been a staunch supporter of the ideas of Apartheid, rather soon reconsiders his views.
James Jarvis in the Essays