1. Go Tell in on the Mountain, James Baldwin
    1. Transtion from Roth--the prophetic blackness
      1. Ozzie - wishing he could rip open the sky and pull out the sun 156
      2. Saying something to increasing darkness about God
      3. Come down into the halo--yellow net--letting go--the Mother; relax and accept the mother?
      4. Deep reverie tender memory of Nathan Marx
      5. Other side of Kosher food--clannishness, exclusion and reminder 172
      6. Special food special BVD's 286
      7. Eli putting on the black outfit, while the greenie wears his suit. 285--the transformation into blackness; the tzitzit underneath the clothing--secret interiority
      8. The needle down where the blackness reached
      9. Stresses bring out the prophetic break--Ozzie--Rabbi and mother and friends and Eli's becoming a father--identity crisis; identity forged in crisis--both individual and national
      10. For John Grimes: stresses: 14th birthday, battle with step father; his hitting mother in the house--like Ozzie's mother; Eli's cruelty
      11. Titles: Goodbye Columbus, Go Tell it on the Mountain--coming through to the other side; transition; passage--like Goodbye--ambiguous whtehr its happy or dead end--like pasage itself--progress or cyclical futility--critical divergence
    2. Bleak and ecstatic…the Blues; Billie Holiday; jazz--Blackness--quote from Sonny's Blues
    3. Difference: this book is largely also about theology—experience of holiness and the sacred, which is overwhelming, beyond pleasure and pain—birth and death; freedom and determinism; love and hate; time and recurrence—i.e. that the Bible contains all events as types; that nothing will go further
      1. Angelic possession—like demonic possession; Pentecostal churches; speaking in tongues; glossalalia
  2. Genre and structure
    1. Dante; Spiritual autobiography--Climbing of the mountain to heaven after descending into hell--also Jacob, Joseph, David, Jesus--dark night of the soul
    2. visionary/aesthetic—shape; moment of eternity in time; finding of self; identity; "the faith" to keep going; the precarious edge of the artist, visionary, neurotic—the marker, index point—God, Jesus, the self
    3. Prophetic message--need for love to overcome the damage of the past--curse of "original sin"--racism and responses to it, sexism, homophobia, fear of sexuality--repression, violence, guilt--Salvation
      1. Step out of father's house; reborn
      2. Grimy house--keeping house clean
        1. Cleansing grime; John the Baptist, washing sin
    4. Structure
      1. Framed by opening chapter and closing chapter taking place in 24 hours of his 14th birthday--day of birth into spirit or rebirth
      2. In between are the stories of those he's linked with: aunt, father and mother-- events that link him to previous generations--Biblical sense of generation and continuity and destiny--also historical and genetic
      3. Need for that to play out, though he never learns the information--before his process can complete
      4. The existence of the past makes for his resolution in the presence and for the reader's deeper understanding of what's going on
  3. Biographical information
    1. Book is ten years in composition and struggle—1942-52--"Crying Holy"
    2. Completed the book in Loeche les Bain in Switzerland at the Chateau of parents of his lover Lucien Happersberger, an artist he met in Paris--"the love of his life."
    3. Similarities: Baldwin was illegitimate, had heavy stepfather who eventually went mad; was obsesssed and confused by sexuality, especially his own homosexuality
    4. Lived metaphorically as Af. Am. Homosexual artist prophet--outsider
    5. Frog eyed
    6. Saved with help of "saints" one of whom he'd fallen in love with
    7. Countee Cullen teacher--Dewitt Clinton H.S. Bronx Jews; Greenwich Village
    8. Finished at 16 and went to Village instead of college
    9. Couldn't finish book till he came to term with his hatred for his stepfather--as does John at the end--also with his sexuality
  4. Sections
    1. Part I—the Seventh Day (pp.1-61)
      1. Title and Epigraphs
        1. The sabbath—resting, fulfillment, completion, celebration; a recurrent marker of conclusion and beginning
        2. Epigraph from Rev. 22:17—Spirit and Bride say Come…whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely
          1. Vision of inclusion and love and community and satisfaction—openness; freedom and generosity
        3. Second epigraph: " I looked down the line/and I wondered"—from a spiritual—uncertainty; foreboding; fear
      2. First section (pp. 11-18)—general exposition
        1. John expected to be the preacher—like father—regardless of his own choice. Conflict between family/community and self
        2. Sunday mornings, family parades to church,
        3. saints vs. sinners, harlem culture, John vs. Roy—names: prophets vs. kings
          1. sex as sinful—street corners and parents in bedroom
        4. John’s resistance: doesn’t learn Sunday school lesson, fear of father, distraction of Elisha, the teacher 13
        5. Sanctifed community of Sunday church—Elisha’s music; everyone singing 14—women seemed patient all the men seemed mighty…the Power struck, always Elisha;
        6. Elisha’s orgasmic seizure by the spirit—15-16*
        7. Contrasted to sin among them…holiness the hard way; Elisha reprimanded for being with Ella Mae…a holy life…awaiting him. 18—holiness and sin very close together
      3. (18-21) John’s awakening reverie on Saturday 14th birthday—Bildungsroman
        1. yellow stain, woman’s nakeness (wet dream; sexual shame)
          1. silence, isolation and guilt…sexual desire for boys in lavatory…darkness of sin
        2. more exposition: John’s being intelligent, recognized by teachers, his fantasy of triumph and escaping his father’s dark rule—a purely secular triumph…Jesus, godliness and brutality associated with father the preacher…this is wickedness
      4. (21ff) Narrative of John’s day and night)
        1. Harlem
          1. depressing dirty world of life in Harlem apt. contrasted to mother’s shining face from the past—dark and light 21-2*
          2. John’s childishness re birthday, mother’s power; brother’s rebellion against father’s brutality
            1. Debate between mother and Roy re Father: responsible cold repression vs. wild, criminal joy and freedom—superego vs id—world of jails and churches
          3. Cleaning 26-28—hopeless, grim work, associated with father—Grimes—contrasted with artifacts on mantle: naked photo, mother, snake—the story of the Fall from Eden, world of original sin, curse of Adam
          4. Flood of fury and tears leads into mother’s bday gift, "wanted to put his head on her belly" 31—mothers unspeakably sad face
        2. The city
          1. Central park and fifth ave 33*--climbing to the summit—joy, fantasy leads to aggressive vision of conquest and cruelty [Freudian aggression and release] Sin is real
          2. Beautiful people, but they will burn in hell
          3. Wants in but they wont let him: father’s religion also is race consciousness—power and influence and the white world as demonic….the white devils, tempt and lure and betray you
          4. Fourty second St: the Public Library, the movie theatres…his birthday money to go into "dark palace…gloom of Hell" 38
          5. The movie: evil white woman luring sensitive cripple…he switches identification from victim to tormenter and then feels "wages of sin she is subject to" 39*
          6. Faces choice of salvation or sin
        3. Back home—building battle
          1. Prophetic announcement of brother’s being hurt
            1. John’s lovelessness—for sister sarah, brother Roy and father, love for baby
          2. Father’s agony; preference for Roy; John’s wish for brother to die to bring his father low(43)*—Cain story
          3. Conflict between Florence and Gabriel—she gets his goat—sibling hatreds.
          4. Father uses injury to threaten John’s link with white people
          5. Father tries to place blame on his wife for Roy’s injury; she answers him back. He hits her; Roy defends; he whips Roy with belt; Florence grabs belt and stops him—violent scene
      5. In the church
        1. Father’s key; history of church—near hospital; father no longer a great leader but still has some respect.
        2. John wants to kill father
        3. More cleaning—of the church’s dirt—symbolic
        4. Elisha makes his mood change—a wonderful lightening
          1. (52) Teasing and wrestling scene, admiration and enjoyment
        5. Elisha lectures him about salvation—he’s done it; hard but not as hard as living in this wicked world (54)
        6. Sister Price and McCandless come in and talk endless piety that John scorns
        7. Elisha and Elizabeth represent real salvation to him and narrator—the others’ Xty is false
        8. The portenous entry of the rest of the family.
      6. John waking up on fourteenth birthday to his state of sin; loss of innocence—loves mother and Elisha and baby, murderously hates everyone else; is lustful, lazy, ambitious
    2. Part II—the Prayers of the Saints (pp. 63-189)
      1. Florence’s Prayer—inwardness of prayer brings truth of hate and sickness
        1. Epigraph—light and life to all He brings/Risen with healing in His wings
          1. light vs. dark; rising vs. falling; healing vs. sickness; prayer vs. pride
        2. Florence’s kneeling first seen through Gabriel’s view and Florence’s sense that he was happy to see her suffer—sibling hate—motif of hate
        3. Flo’s Departure
          1. Song takes her to flashback of mother; mother’s song—religious chants as annihilating time
          2. Florence forgotten how to pray—not love or humility but fear brings her down; she hates demonstrative public prayer
          3. Florence’s disease—cancer 67—and guilt toward those she harmed 68*
          4. Her mother’s prayer—who had preferred brother—the night of the raid when Deborah was raped…indirect narrative 69
          5. Flo’s mother’s mother—Civil War and biblical liberation from slavery remembered—Exod. P.70
          6. Flo’s thing: walking out the door 72—
          7. from birth, her murderous jealousy of Gabriel --73
          8. aligned with Deborah, the rape victim, to hatred of all men 74; her employer wants her as concubine
            1. but Deborah doesn’t hate
          9. Her leaving for New York—great scene 76-77*--Gabriel’s desperation 79, Mother’s dismay—Baldwin and his family
        4. 80-81 Interlude where John observes Flo and oscillates between dark and light
        5. Story of Frank
          1. Sang the blues and drank too much; ten years of marriage—his walking out the door—dying in France in the war
          2. Frank inviting a friend over—her hatred of common niggers [and men?]
          3. She loved to see him bow—83—power struggle and sex—sexual need makes each give in to the other; but not love
          4. His good natured efforts to please her; her rejection—bringing home turkey; childish man 84
          5. His great response: "Where you expect us to live honey where we aint going to be with niggers? 86
          6. Eloquence of their argument—friend outside; he leaves; then comes back drunk; then she yields to him sexually—alienated and crippling desire*
        6. Conclusion—the letter she carries from Deborah revealing Gabriel’s illegitimate child—her desire to crush him—as she feels "hands of death caressed her shoulders."* [Is this like Frank?]—terrible climax
      2. Gabriel’s Prayer—longest section; most stories
        1. Gabriel hears his sister’s cry as "the cry of the sinner when he is taken in his sin." 88
        2. Nice transition—silence [like silence before seventh seal is opened] takes him to silence of his sin before he was redeemed
        3. Scene of coming back to his mother’s house from harlot in early morning
        4. His desire for salvation is for power 94
        5. Self division at the point of his mother’s dying—sexual guilt 95—the widow
        6. Falls against the tree with conviction of sin 96 [gets students to explicate this process]—wept like child 97—in the valley of death
        7. Hears mother’s voice which brings him around…but the memory segues into his homiletic narrative from the pulpit 97
        8. Story of his marriage to Deborah, coinciding with mother’s death and his conversion—her perfect virtue; humility, unattractiveness; she always calls him Reverend, supports him with total devotion 100
          1. The revival meeting
            1. His and Deborah’s partnership—she reads from Isaiah, at the revival
            2. The sermon—the inescapability of sin; the corruption of the natural Adam, the story of Cain and Sodom—doctrine of original sin; calvinism and its appeal*103-4
            3. Virtuoso performance—speech climaxes in boy coming up crying to be saved –transition/contrast/disillusion
            4. Fat decadent 24 preachers; Gabriel’s ambitiion and disillusionment—abominable levity; remark about Deborah being choked early on white man’s milk 107
          2. He marries her out of pity, virtue, and safety—better to marry than burn
            1. A fit of holiness—imagines himself like Jesus*
              1. Wet dream of filthy sin 111--Onan
              2. Dream of difficult climb of mountain and then joy of salvation in heaven
            2. She accepts with tears
        9. Elisha falls with speaking in tongues—pentecostal experience—cf. Acts; glossalalia
          1. Like pain of labor—rebirth of the soul1 113
        10. Gabriel’s revery about disappointment in his sons—attitude toward John
          1. Dead son Royal, killed in knife fight; living son Roy had cursed him
          2. Cf. Stories of Eli and of David
          3. Living son cursed for the sins of his father 114
          4. Elizabeth and John—blame shifting to them for his disappointment
          5. Story of Esther, mother of Royal starts 116
            1. Her liveliness and attraction; some indian blood—mother and grandmother given to ragtime and the blues
            2. Her come on to him* 116—You really going to preach tonight? A pretty an like you?"
            3. Preaches before Esther and mother—about failing to wait and being punished—impatience
            4. She doesn’t succumb to his preaching power—she reminds him of the elders; her lack of earnestness
            5. She drinks and seduces him in the kitchen where they work 125-6* His struggle. "Even a reverends got the right to take off his clothes sometime and act like a natural man."
            6. Affair lasts only nine days
            7. Tragic marriage with Deborah who cant be awakened in bed
            8. Esther pregnant while Deborah remains barren—biblical irony 129
            9. Dramatic conversation re her pregnancy 133—tragic dilemma* "I guess it takes a holy man to make a girl a real whore."
            10. Esther goes to Chicago to have baby; he steals Deborah’s money to give it to her; and then returns it
            11. He wanders riven with guilt, but this strengthens his faith 137
            12. She is returned dead; his son unacknowledged, raised by grandparents—named Royal according to his wish—curse; encounter in street "I bet he got a mighty big one." 139
            13. Encounter with Royal—the lynching story; town in terror; race* 142—murderous violence of his revenge—cf. Lynching pictures 141-3
          6. Powerful transition to John’s point of view—his desire to be saved modulates into his hatred, vengeance against his father. 145* Black to white in previous scene is like son to father—evil thoughts
          7. Back to Gabriel: Deborah announces Roy’s death in fight in Chicago; Gabriel collapses; Deborah announces that she would have raised Roy; Gabriel’s inability to admit his weakness—recognition of truth and despair—God talking in a thunderstorm outside 149
          8. Elisha begins to speak in tongues; Gabriel sees evil look in John’s eyes
      3. Elizabeth’s prayer—Lord I wish I had of died in Egypt land [murmuring—opposite of liberation]--Set off by Elisha’s fiery visitation
        1. Elizabeth, Gabriel, John
          1. John brought unwillingly into the world
            1. unwanted child—cf. Billie Holiday]—vs. fiercely wanted child—what this says about destiny—to be born an unwanted child
          2. Elizabeth’s childhood disasters—death of neglectful mother; father’s easygoing ways—his love; his running a brothel—her aunt’s gaining custody 153—she’s cut off from loving father
          3. Child learning that love was imprisonment that freed, but also in aunt’s usage, "a bribe, a threat, and indecent will to power" 156
          4. She chooses Richard over God "and this was why god had taken him from her" 157—guilt for her pride
          5. Her meeting with Richard in the store where he worked; a reader; discontent
          6. Moves to New York, no supervision; hangs out with Richards fast group—irreverence 163—but he doesn’t have the self-discipline to get it together to marry her; she loves him because he needs her. Love as vulnerable and trap
          7. Richard takes her to museums; is into culture; she doesn’t understand
          8. She’s afraid to tell him she’s pregnant—secrets and lies—see Gabriel and Deborah—people protecting each other from the truth
          9. Another racial incident; Richard arrested and beatenbecause of race; Elizabeth’s murderous hatred of the condescending cop 169—places all blame against the white world; next paragraph he’s released 173
          10. Richard’s suicide [cf. Sula-black suicide]
        2. Elizabeth and Gabriel
          1. God everywhere, the terrible, the living God 174—soul in conflict with the heart
          2. She accepts Gabriel like God—not what she wants but what’s there
          3. Meeting Florence working nights as cleaning women—silent ferocity of dignity
          4. Florence’s bitterness about men 182. The two women and baby John; Baldwin on gender
          5. Conclusive ending of this section—the marriage of Gabriel and Elizabeth 188
          6. Ending with memory of birth of John—agony of birth—death and life—John born and reborn 189; this is transition to last part
    3. Part III—The threshing Floor
      1. Epigraph: woe is me for …I am a man of unclean lips: the prophet’s inadequacy before God; holiness is about power and purity that brings sin or limitation to the fore [Gabriel? John?]
      2. Possession—description of unusual and transcendant experience; expanded consciousness—cf. Dostoevsky—epileptic fit; divine madness—Greek enthousiasmous; Acts; pentecost; OT prophets
      3. Something moved in John’s body which was not John . 193*--his resistance; ironic voice; inner conflict
        1. Lengthy description of falling, of feeling damnation
      4. Cacaphony of voices: Hated damning voice of father; Elisha’s desired and loving voice; ironic, cynical voice
        1. Guilt for looking at father naked and hating him—Association with Biblical curse on Ham
        2. All the biblical father curses and threats of God the father evoked—father calls him Devil’s son; he says he sees father having sex at night—Oedipal rivalry 198—father controls golden robe
        3. Knife came down—story of abraham and Isaac 199—David, father kills absalom his son who sleeps with father’s concubines
        4. No love in this death journey—dark night of the soul; trip to the underworld—spirits and demons; dante’s inferno
          1. Hears the sound of all racial suffering and humiliation—body on the tree; legacy of suffering 201—biblical and racial—dark army
          2. Voice says—go through and Jesus saves 202 ; he says lord have mercy—succeeded by an unsuccessful communion, a vision of the damned on the shore crawling over one another and
      5. "Then John saw the Lord—for a moment only…he was set free; his tears sprang…" 204
        1. Voices of congregation, especially Elisha bring him back to place of salvation—rebirth—hand extended—he was one of the company of the saints
      6. Salvation qualified
        1. He stands before mother and cant read the mystery of her face—she’s far from him 206
        2. He stands before father and struggles to "conquer the great division…" He uses his father’s words to express his sense of salvation "My witness is in Heaven and my record is on high." Father says "It come from your mouth." Wall comes down 207
      7. Morning—people walking home in groups marvelling at the past experience—incorporating the experience of eternity into time
        1. Surrounded by omens of evil days—cat, siren
        2. Elizabeth weeps, recalling her love with Richard 210 [unholy]
        3. Dialogue of Florence and Gabriel—she reveals knowledge of Esther to him as cruel long awaited stroke 211
          1. He defends himself, his faith against her relentless indictments—defends himself as "the lord’s anointed." 213
          2. She wants to get Gabriel to stop scapegoating Elizabeth and John as sinner and bastard—he was sinner and fathered a bastard too [back to part 1] 214*
          3. Florence’s last words, invoking Deborah—she’s got the letter; she’s the witness—"I aint going to go in silence."
        4. John’s sense of the avenue in a new perspective—the storm was over—the ugliness will return—graphic description 216
        5. Statement of what he received—a joy bred from despair that will sustain him* 217—Ezekiel’s wheel—"it’s uphill all the way." 218 [the meaning of "Keep the faith"]—up the steep side of the mountain….Aint nothing but the love of God can make the darkness light"
        6. Morning weariness from being up all night
        7. Easy affection between Elisha and John—final request to Elisha to remember "I was saved. I was there." * 220 E. kisses John on forehead in presence of his father
        8. Sun falling on Elisha and on John’s head "like a seal ineffaceable forever" 221
        9. Father not smiling—last significant words: "I’m on my way"—cf. Title
    4. Summarize ambiguous conclusion:
      1. Aftermath of a moment of salvation
        1. Elisha is spirit of light and love
        2. Elizabeth remembers John’s father
        3. Gabriel staunch in his faith despite his past
        4. Florence remains most bitter—but trying to do good, get Gabriel off John and Elizabeth’s back
        5. John [like Stephen Daedalus, or Lily Briscoe] has had his vision