Analysis Of Go Tell It On The Mountain, By James Baldwin

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James Baldwin, born in Harlem and the oldest of nine siblings, has been called the most important black writer of the twentieth century. Baldwin’s first novel “Go Tell It on the Mountain” was written in 1953 and was published in the United States while he was living in Europe, which is where he went to live for nine years to escape racial injustice. He returned to the United States in 1957 and wrote several essays that shed light on the civil rights struggle that was taking place. Baldwin was constantly attacked as being “sufficiently militant, he was nonetheless a forceful, brilliant voice, warning white America of the explosions to come and cautioning black America against the self-destructive excesses of racial hatred” (Baldwin 1784). In …show more content…
After the boys’ mother passed away, the narrator asks Sonny what he wanted to do with his life and the response was to be a musician. This does not go over well for Sonny, because the narrator believes that a person cannot make money off being a musician and thinks that his brother is being crazy, “I simply couldn’t see why on earth he’d want to spend his time hanging around nightclubs, clowning around on bandstands, while people pushed each other around a dance floor. It seemed-beneath him, somehow. I had never thought about it before, had never been forced to, but I suppose I had always put jazz musicians in a class with what Daddy called ‘good-time people’” (Baldwin 1749). It is not until the end of the story that the narrator agrees to attend one of his brothers shows and comes to understand that his brother is no longer a boy and has truly found something the he enjoys doing, “Sonny’s fingers filled the air with life, his life. But that life contained so many others. And Sonny went all the way back, he really began to make it his. It was very beautiful because it wasn’t hurried and it was no longer a lament” (Baldwin 1805). It was at this point when the song ended that Sonny’s older brother learned that his younger brother was going to be ok in life and that he had learned from his mistakes and had used them to his …show more content…
The older brother feels alienated from Sonny because Sonny is incarcerated, because he feels like he did not take care of his brother, and because he did not approve of his brother 's musical dreams. When the narrator first learned about Sonny’s circumstances, he automatically got upset and could not believe that his brother had made such poor decisions. However, when the narrator took the time, he learned about the factors that led Sonny down that path. This is often an issue that all humans face in relationships; people often overreact to things and it can cause strain in the relationship. This story is a typical example of this conflict. The narrator overreacts to Sonny’s decision about wanting to become a musician which adds another factor to the list of ones that eventually sends Sonny overboard into the bad habit of doing drugs. Once the narrator steps back, he is able to see that music is the way Sonny deals with the things that has happened in his past and both brothers are able to come back together. Once people step back they are able to realize sometimes what made a person make the decision that they did and the conflict could have been

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