Identity struggle - The narrow and broad path in James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain
Table of contents
II.Imposed roles – Afro Americans in a dominantly white society 3
2.1 Black church as a helpful companion or a mere distraction 4 from reality?
III.In search of identity: Between secularization and clericalization 8
3.1. John’s getaway to Manhattan – Denial of his black heritage? 8
3.2. John’s conversion – True belief or a mere survival gimmick? 12
James Baldwin’s life was deeply marked by an identity struggle. A struggle to find out what it meant to be an American and foremost what it meant to be an Afro American. 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. The following paper will therefore take a look at the possibilities offered to the Afro American characters in the story, especially to John, and what role the church plays in this context. Moreover it will outline John Grimes situation between a religious up-bringing in poverty and the longing for a better financial life by adopting white ways. Finally it will try to elaborate on the basis of two key scenes whether John’s decision is based on faith or hopelessness.
II. Imposed roles – Afro Americans in a dominantly white society
From the very beginning of the novel the possibilities of Afro Americans in...