In James Baldwin’s 1952 novel “Go Tell It On The Mountain” the characters in the novel each embark on a spiritual journey. Baldwin has dedicated a chapter to each member of the Grimes family, detailing their trails and tribulations, hopes and aspirations, as each one’s quest to get closer to God becomes a battle. I have chosen the character John because I admire the fierce struggle he endured to find his spirituality. I will examine how he’s embarked on his quest and prove that he has done it with integrity and dignity.
This novel is set in 1935 in Harlem, New York City. A small church congregation comes together for Sunday evening mass. The congregation is made up of close friends and family. The novel is centered around the Grimes family. They go to a Baptist church, “Temple of the Fire Baptized” and it is a very close congregation which every member has a personal bond with one another. This fact, I believe adds to the dynamics of the way they worship and ultimately the way they identify with god.
John Grimes, the eldest son of Gabrial Grimes whom was a former well-respected and dynamic preacher, is in search of answers to his unhappiness. John wants to find his place within the church, define his relationship with god, and wants to flush the dislike he has for his father out. His father favors John’s younger brother Roy over himself. Although Roy is a bad seed and has an impeccable ability for getting into trouble he undoubtedly remains the apple of his father’s eye. John has been compared to another young man named Elisha, whom is a member of the church. Elisha is a few years older than John and has the respect of all the congregation members because he showed great intere...
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He then heard the voice of Elisha, telling him to come through. He heard the singing of the congregation. Elisha said, “Rise up, rise up, Brother Johnny, and talk about the Lord’s deliverance” John has been saved and exaltedly claimed, “Lord, I been introduced to the Father, and the Son, and I ain’t no stranger now!”
John’s quest to be closer to God was phenomenal. I too have had a rocky relationship with my father and like John has had to fight the demons caused by that relationship and atoned for them. It is very important to practice forgiveness. I believe that John has done that. Hatred is a heavy burden to bare, and lead to destruction. I believe through his newfound relationship with God, he will forgive then rebuild his relationship with his father. And has proven to me that he’s embarked on his quest with integrity and dignity.
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