Rosenblatt, Roger: Out of Control: Go Tell It on the Mountain and Another Country in: Harold Bloom: James Baldwin. Thus, once he arrives at Central Park and reaches the top of the hill, he feels as if he could counter the entire city: He did not know why, but there arose in him an exultation. Scared he stands in front of the building not knowing how people would react to him if he dared to go inside: He loved this street, not for the people or the shops but for the stone lions. But as soon as he recalls the peoples reactions to him he is pulled back into reality: He remembered the people he had seen in the city, whose eyes held no love for him and how. By contrast, the white society stands for success and seems to offer him all the possibilities his father deprives him. Impart an open ending to the story, leaving out which path John is going to take after all. The only way of finding his real identity is by accepting his own heritage and history and consequently his own father.
New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing. This is also emphasized by the unchanged picture the saints face the morning after Johns conversion, which stands in contrast to the development he has undergone: Yet the houses were there, as they had been; the windows, like. This identity struggle is clearly visible in Johns case and will be discussed in detail in chapter three. A Collection of Critical Essays. As mentioned before, this tendency in John can be ascribed to a longing for a better life and not to an intended denial of his blackness. Although John does not really know yet who he is and where he belongs, at this point he does know that he never wants to end up like his father. Johns conversion True belief or a mere survival gimmick? Overall Bone reckons that the church offers either the path of self-hatred or the path of self-acceptance, with Christ as a kind of spiritual bleaching cream. Further, Johns real father Richard is crushed by the injustice against black men in a dominantly white society and consequently commits suicide.
New York: New York University Press 1970,.119-126. But there was none. Language : German, hardcover : 339 pages, iSBN-10. Isbn-13 :, item Weight :.2 ounces, dimensions :.69.02.13 inches. The title of the novel, the first line of a Negro spiritual, refers to the good news of Jesus Christs existence. Peter Bruck interprets this similarly. New York: Bantam Dell 1980. The church exemplifies by means of the wrathful Old Testament God a masculine role model many Negro adolescences lack in their family environment.
Therefore Johns desired white identity is only a mock identity which would never work. This assumption is also enforced by an ironic observation the narrator makes concerning the characters habits of church going: Tarry service officially began at eight, but it could begin at any time, whenever the Lord moved one. In the novel the church primarily seems to be a place of comfort for those in sorrow, such as Aunt Florence. His aversion to black people derives basically from the fact that his entire Negro environment characterizes itself by poverty and does not offer him a successful, strong or caring male role model. Like in other works he also deals with this topic in his first novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, where John Grimes confronts this problem on his fourteenth birthday. As he walks along Central Park he keeps imagining what it would be like living in such an environment and being wealthy.
Henderson: James Baldwins Go Tell It on the Mountain. Peter Bruck explains this situation with the fact that Johns experience does not signify relief from his damnation, but merely constitutes a momentary ease from the existing situation, similar to the Noah and Ham network. Despite all these admonitions and the fact that John is aware of the Negro treatment and history in the United States, he believes that his knowledge is the key to white acceptance. In search of identity: Between secularization and clericalization Given the background so far John Grimes is trapped between the clerical life his parents force unto him and the secular life that awaits him outside his home on the streets. Colin MacInnes goes even further in his essay by referring to religion as a fierce and constant compulsion that never abandons them the characters a second. The following lines point to a new start and ongoing journey lying ahead of John: The sun had come full awake. In return for refuge and brotherhood, the members are curtailed freedom and have to renounce all worldly pleasures. At some point though his teachers notice that he is very intelligent: Youre a very bright boy, John Grimes Keep up the good work.His parents dont seem to be aware of this or dont consider this to be of importance for his future perspectives. 17,.2 (June 1966.107-121. Gabriels ongoing criticism of Johns outward appearance leads to insecurity and self-doubt: His father had always said that his face was the face of Satan and was there not something in the lift of the eyebrow.
This trip to Manhattan signifies for John an escape from his fathers religious world and one step closer to the life he wishes to lead, one that is characterized by financial security and social status independent of his skin color. Historical and Critical Essays. Im on my way. Apple, android, windows Phone, android, to get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. As Robert Bone also hints at, the church can function as a path of self-hatred or as a path of self-acceptance. The way of the cross had given him a belly filled with wind and had bent his mothers back; they had never worn fine clothes, but here, where the buildings contested Gods power and where the. John is confronted with this supposedly sin on his way to church every Sunday in the form of men and women coming home from bars and cat houses.
For example Aunt Florence who sets out North in order to achieve a higher living standard, but ends up alone after driving her husband away from her due to her ambition to gain a higher social standard. This meant exchanging the personal power of ones sex and the social power of ones people in exchange for the power of the Word, in Baldwins eyes the historical betrayal of the Negro Church. This step can also be found in James Baldwins own biography. Elisha somehow represents the earthly protection and guidance John needs in order to find his identity. In general, the church is depicted as a kind of sanctuary for the characters, just as it was for James Baldwin himself. The constant threats of damnation and hell itself, which Macebuh states as being part of the Black Christianity, also appear throughout the entire novel. At the same time he blames the Anglo-American society for depriving black people of all freedom and power to direct their own lives.
Hence, he tries to find an explanation for his fathers rejection in his own shortcomings, such as his desire to leave the ghetto or his intelligence which singles him out. Both function as allusions to biblical constructions. Ironically, in the end John remains in his secular thinking as much a victim of his fears of God as those who are willing to accept Gods power. He had heard it everywhere It was in his fathers anger, in his mothers calm insistence, and in the vehement mockery of his aunt Yes, he had heard it all his life, but it was only now. In exchange for sanctuary he had to give up his sexuality and entirely isolate himself from the outer world, which might get him into conflict with the white power.
Csaba Csap, go even further by assuming that by doing so he also embraces his homosexuality, which comes to show in his relationship with Elisha. Although during Johns religious ecstasy the reader might get the impression that he is acting according to belief, his final words to Elisha on the way home evoke insecurity in this decision: no matter what happens. The moment he realizes that this world was not for him and that they would never let him enter, as his father always kept preaching him, he turns to his only other option, the black church. This would become redundant if he were to find out that Gabriel is not his real father and that he has also sinned in his past life, namely in the form of his unclaimed firstborn son with Esther. Therefore this experience is questionable and rather seems to be a flight from the quest for identity into the ostensible safety the black church offers. Then he need no longer fear his father, for he could take, as it were, their quarrel over his fathers head to Heaven to the Father who loved him, who had come down in the flesh to die for him.
It is this aspect that Baldwin criticizes mostly. MacInnes, Colin: Dark Angel: The Writings of James Baldwin in: Gibson, Donald.: Five Black Writers. As for Elisha, who also tries to bring him closer to God, John sees in him a brotherly and fatherly figure he looks up to, but he also feels attracted to him in sexual ways. Instead of the wrathful God his father preaches him, Elisha speaks of a caring and blessing one who protects and saves. This can also be applied to Johns case. Since the current story evolving around John primarily takes place in a church and deals with his conversion it is important to take a closer look at the role of Black Christianity and the Black Church.