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Novel explores race and religion


Thursday, September 07, 2017
RINDGENovel explores race, religion

The Classic Readers will meet at the Ingalls Memorial Library in Rindge at 3 p.m. Monday to discuss James Baldwin’s semi- autobiographical novel, “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” which both the Modern Library Association and Time Magazine list as one of the 100 best English language novels written in the 20th century.

The title, taken from a well- known Negro spiritual, weaves itself into the story of John Grimes, a black teenager in 1930s Harlem, and his relationship to his family and church. Three main conflicts move the plot: a clash between father and son, a coming of age struggle and a religious crisis. Written in 1953, the novel presents many racial and religious areas for discussion particularly relevant in 2017.

In Baldwin’s own life, he had a religious awakening in his teens as his character John does. Later in life Baldwin went on to become a Pentecostal preacher.

The novel follows 14-year-old John’s struggle as he sees both the church’s inspiration and community and its repression and moral hypocrisy.