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Eng 201-1712 Assignment

Go Tell it on the Mountain

In “Go Tell it on the Mountain” James Baldwin works with the themes of intoxication, loneliness, and sin. He does this through frank, Elizabeth, and the rug. James Baldwin is trying to say that sins separate people from loved ones.

Frank is always drunk. Most of the time he comes home tipsy. “He would come home on Saturday afternoon already drunk with some useless object”. He is what you would call a boozer or a binge drinker. “He drank too much”. He would invite any friend to his house, so that they could get plastered. “Lest she should think that he was drinking too much invites some ruffian home to share with him”. He loves to get wasted.

Elizabeth has become desolate after having to move with her aunt. She has grown to be lonesome person because of her father. “Her mother was dead, her father banished, and she lived in the shadow of her aunt.” When her mother died, she was destined to move in with her aunt. “For when her mother died, the world fell down; her aunt, her mother’s older sister...”. Her mother passed away when she was young, she had deeply been suffered to the point that life has no meaning in her eyes. “Her aunt comes second in the series of disasters that had ended Elizabeth's childhood.” Elizabeth had a miserable living with her aunt.

The rug is a reflection of wrongdoing. John does not like sweeping the carpet, because it reminds him of wickedness and feeling of himself being useless. “John hated sweeping this carpet, for dust rose, clogging his nose”. It was something he would try and fail, ridding the rug of offense. “It was become in his imagination his impossible, lifelong task, his hard trial, like that of a man had read about somewhere, whose curse was push a boulder up a steep hill”. He feels all the cleaning is meaningless and unnecessary to be done repeatedly. “He felt that should he sweep it forever; the clouds of dust would not diminish”. The floor mat is grimy with transgression.

The author believes that people who don't have any family that they love, feel as if they don't belong to this life and have no meaning to their existence. frank is very alcoholic, Elizabeth is sorrowful and dejected, and John is trying to rid the house of immorality. Baldwin thinks that if people are not emotionally, neither sentimentally and nor physically tied to their families, then they should be in a wrong place for living.


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