Sibling Rivalry In Go Tell It On The Mountain By James Baldwin

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Go Tell It on the Mountain, a title stemming from a Negro spiritual, was written by James Baldwin and first published in 1953. The novel is written with many references to the King James Bible. This American classic chronicles the life of John Grimes who faces life’s challenges of coming of age, religious issues, and the ongoing troubling relationship between himself and his father. Throughout the novel are references to race and racism and how these issues affect the individual lives of the books characters who were all intertwined throughout the entire novel. The author addresses several themes throughout the novel one of which being the theme of sibling rivalry. This sibling rivalry has an impact on several characters in the novel and …show more content…
Gabriel rules the family with an iron fist. Fear and violence is what surrounds the Grimes’ household. Gabriel dominates his wife Elizabeth and their children. Even though Gabriel is a lay-preacher who was born again in his early twenties, the house is one of fear rather than a house of love. This fear and violence is what isolates John, who is trying to find his nitch in this family unit. Upon waking up, John is greeted by sounds of his mother and brother Roy arguing in the kitchen over their father. Roy is a rebellious youth who disagrees immensely with Gabriel’s strict religious guidance/influence and unlike John, will defend himself and argue back with Gabriel. Elizabeth defends Gabriel’s child rearing methods, stating that he is doing what he feels is best and will essentially keep Roy out of jail. Roy continues to argue and claims, “When I have children, I ain’t going to treat them like this….I’m sure this ain’t no way to be.” (INSERT REFERENCE). Roy is referring to Gabriel’s continual physical abuse of the children in the household. John is disheartened with his father’s treatment of the family, especially John himself. John does not understand his father’s …show more content…
Florence and Gabriel were raised by their God fearing mother, Rachel, who to no avail tried to instill the importance of education into Gabriel not Florence. Florence did not understand why her mother would have her do everything for Gabriel when he was obviously not appreciative or interested in a good education or a better life. Gabriel was very rebellious and was a heavy drinker in his youth. Rachel would pray over Gabriel for hours and hours, as well as try to beat the devil out of him, but nothing worked. Gabriel would just rebel more, breaking his mother’s heart. To their mother, Gabriel was everything and Florence was there to serve and take care of her younger brother. Florence never understood her mother’s and Gabriel’s relationship. Over time Florence grew more and more resentful towards her brother. This sibling rivalry continued well into adulthood because it was never truly addressed in the family early on (Bernstein). Sibling rivalry has several levels. The first level being a more normal range of disagreements and not seeing eye to eye. (Bernstein). The second is more of a sibling strife where the disagreements have turned into a hatred where the two sibling cannot stand to be around one another. (Bernstein). This sibling strife would describe Florence and Gabriel’s relationship. Research demonstrates that the relationship that parents have

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