Go Tell It on the Mountain

Go Tell It on the Mountain

by James Baldwin
3.7 49

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Go Tell It on the Mountain 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This first masterwork by James Baldwin represents one of the most penetrating, eloquent, and original visions in American literature. The crisis of black spirituality in a land constantly negating black humanity is not a tale easily told, yet Baldwin did so with a rare degree of power, beauty, and courage. The reasons this novel is generally described as a classic are evident on every page.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Drawn-out, overly descriptive, and at times hard to follow. Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin tells the story of the deep spiritual struggle of a fourteen year old black boy growing up in a Harlem community in the 1930¿s. At times, the book sounds almost poetic until an abrupt, and occasionally disturbing, flash back jumps at you from out of nowhere. Eventually, the story turns into somewhat of a bad soap opera with adultery, gangs, attempted murder, child abuse, suicide, and rape. Baldwin has shown through this book his mastery of fitting someone¿s life story into a single sentence as he attempted to do several times, losing the reader mid sentence. Baldwin also went on for pages describing dust in a house and adulterous moments-a euphemism of course. I can certainly agree with New York Times'review, ¿ with vivid imagery and lavish attention to details.¿ But I never imagined it to be this bad. Where details lacked in some areas, they grew like weeds in others. Attention to details many people do not want to hear about proliferated, distracting from the supposed focus of the book, the spiritual struggles of a teenage boy. In five words or less: sick, twisted and way to long. So, if you are looking for a soap opera-like book which could have easily been 200 pages shorter go to your nearest bookstore and purchase Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I understood most of the book, but eventually had a strong recognition tp it. When I saw the movie, i was like, 'Oh, so that's what happened!' I has a full comprehension of the book after I watched the movie
Guest More than 1 year ago
For a quick read, James Baldwin¿s novel may be suitable, but coming from a classroom setting, almost unsatisfactory. Although Go Tell it on the Mountain is written by an important figure in African American Literature, I did not enjoy reading this book on many accounts, which range from summary, story structure, and my disliking of the characters. The story begins with the family in Go Tell it on the Mountain getting ready to go to church. Religion plays a very important part and the most important people are part of the church. John, one of the main characters, has been watching people amongst his family being ¿saved¿ and beginning a new life all the time. He wakes up on his fourteenth birthday feeling nothing different and none of his family members even acknowledge even a `happy birthday¿ to him. His mother, Elizabeth comes around to it, gives him some money and sends him on his way. John is scared someone from the church might see him downtown, so he runs into the movie theater. While he is gone, his brother Roy gets into trouble and gets stabbed. John comes home to his father, Gabriel, being very upset with him, Roy wounded, Elizabeth crying and his Aunt Florence yelling at Gabriel. Everyone is upset at everyone and so trouble follows. Gabriel ends up slapping Elizabeth and then beats Roy for taking up for his mother. Aunt Florence calls him out on being a stereotypic black man all the while John is just standing back, witnessing everything. After that, the family goes to church as if nothing happened. Florence rarely goes to church, so in this case, John knew she must have been near her deathbed. The novel then goes into depth about her past and Gabriel¿s as well, since they are siblings. Following the description of Florence¿s past, Gabriel¿s past and Elizabeth¿s past, it takes the reader to the end of the book. After a few days after John¿s fourteenth birthday, the story ends. One point I did not like about Go Tell it on the Mountain, was that the story took place only within a few days and nothing too significant happens. The reason why nothing happens is because majority of the novel details almost all of the character¿spasts. The reader knows very little about the main character John, but jumps into Florence¿s past along with all the decisions she¿s had to make, Gabriel¿s past with all of the irrational and religious behavior and Elizabeth¿s quiet past. While reading through the character¿s lives, they were interesting and gave the reader clear descriptions of each personality. Unfortunately I expected it to come to a point in the story and it did not. As soon as the novel flashes back to the present year of the novel, 1935, the book is practically over and the character¿s past hardly had anything to do with the plot. Although, James Baldwin wrote about many discussion worthy and prominent topics, like children out of wedlock, hypocrisy and male and female roles I did not find the backgrounds to serve as any argument in the story. Baldwin should have brought the detail of the character¿s lives to around full circle and made them play a more significant role in the novel, especially the ending. What actually makes the novel are the characters inside it, but in Go Tell in on the Mountain¿s case, the characters are my least favorite. To pinpoint the term main character on one person in this novel can be confusing because two of them can be considered main character. Starting with the most obvious one, John, right at first he seemed different and slower. Slower meaning possibly autistic because he has a hard time making social connections with people yet he excels in school. Everyone in the church though John would follow in Gabriel¿s footsteps and become a preacher, but John did not care if he did or did not. He was afraid of many things, such as sin. At one point, J
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a first novels go, I thought this particular title was excellent, even brilliant at times. The author did particularly well in illustrating the difficulties faced by successive generations of African-Americans in the early 20th century. His character sketches of John and the rest of the Grimes family are very well done in my opinion. Baldwin initially gives the reader a very limited portrait of the adults, and then reveals in one layer after another how the choices and compromises each was forced to make in a racist and misogynistic society in turn affected their relationships with one another and the succeeding generation as represented by the protagonist. A word finally about some of the comments by other reviewers on this page. Many of them seem to focus on the novel's lack of a thriller-like plot or structure and 'lavish attention to detail.' However, this is the novel's principal strength in my opinion. It allows Baldwin's narrative to tell some uncomfortable truths about African-Americans, both men and women, and perhaps most importantly about America itself that a 'thriller-like plot' would never be able to accomplish in the same way. From the many errors in spelling, grammar and syntax that were evident in the reviews I read on this page, it is clear that the fault most likely lies with their inability to comprehend the complex social issues and historical insights that the author is dealing with in this novel, rather than any shortcoming of the book itself. I hope that they can reconsider their attitudes toward the novel and the rest of Baldwin's work at a later time in their lives when they've acquired more enlightenment (as well as education). I'm sure that their reading of the novel will be the richer for it.
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"Go Tell it on the Mountain" is a pretty interesting book. The book is written in a three-day format and there is a lot of information in it. The main character, John, doesn't know where he fits in. His family wants him to become a preacher, but John is not sure if he wants to. Everyone expects him to be a good kid, unlike his younger brother. His father is very cruel to his family, especially John and his brother. His mother is kind to the family, but John wonders why she is distant. John also is confused about his church. Every time someone does something wrong, they have to confess it with shouting and screaming to be forgiven. He also doesn't fit in the church and has to behave in the services. Everyone around him seems to be struggling with an inner thing that they can't seem to let go of. His aunt struggles with her childhood and her hatred toward her mother and brother. John's mother struggles with her life that she had before she married John's father. John's father struggles with the bad things he has done in the past that has affected the people around him. Also John struggles with his father. He has hatred towards his father because of all the things he has done to his family. His father looks at him with hate in his eyes and John wished he wasn't his father. John's brother likes to get into trouble and is constantly warned not to, but he never heeds to these warnings. He is also lazy and doesn't like to help around when it is needed. John and his sisters, Sarah and Baby Ruth, usually get along and Sarah is always a good child. I think that the author did a pretty good job on the characters. I think that the author is trying to get the message across that people can go through struggles in their life and that it will get better with time. I think that the author did a good job on this book, except for a few parts. I think that the most important part in the book is the ending. I think that is the most important part because everything is a lot better for all of the characters at the end. Everything seems to turn out right in the ending and things look a lot better for John.
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Baldwin takes you back in time thanks to his vivid imagery. he makes you become part of the story. I read it in two sittings; I simply could not let the book go!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Go Tell It on the Mountain is filled with biblical information that brings out the spirit of the black church and a realism that brings to life the Harlem of the 1930s, a northern ghetto whose souls were still struggling with southern demons. This book as a novel brings out so much in the point of view and you can also learn from it. The language they use is very proper as because it was back in the days and the tone of work is just magnificent it brings out every detail and brings it to your perspective. This novel was an attempt to exorcise something about the past life of the author James Baldwin, to find out what happened to his father, what happened to all of the people, what had happened to him and how we were to move from one place to another it is just about another young man struggling with tough issues in life like any other kid that made this one of the greatest novels of the period.