Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain, and Morrison’s Home are two Interesting to read literatures. Each book brings its own uniqueness to the table. Indeed, in both books, there is a brilliant course in regards to exploring their examinations of race, family, and religion. It is obvious that Baldwin is clearly the frankest of the two (however not essentially the most prevailing for that). However, America’s most celebrated novelist, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison lengthens her philosophical point of view on our history with his story of redemption. Baldwin’s first main masterpiece, a story that has founded itself to be an American classic, can also be established as a redemption story. With poetic accuracy, psychological honesty, echoing symbolic power, and a rage that is merciless and sympathetic, Baldwin talks about a fourteen-year-old boy’s awareness of the positions of his individuality as being the stepson of the pastor of a storefront Pentecostal church to the later struggles of becoming a man in a religious world. With that said, this essay will compare and contrast the themes in each novel.
Exploring the characters of both John Grimes in “Go Tell It on the Mountain and Frank Money in “Home” have different experiences in life however both are both dealing with anger and fear. In Baldwin’s novel, John is a young African-American man that turns 14 years old on the morning the story starts. However, Frank in Morrison’s novel depicts a 24 year old African American Korean War veteran, who disembarks on an unenthusiastic journey home. However, what— and where — is home for Frank? Both John and Frank are running from some type of fear and anger. Frank Money, who retreats into violent memories to escape his fractured present and John, has violent streaks because he is attracted and disgusted by the church. He is not just revolted by the church but also his father, and all that his father represents. Anger in both novels seems to have a big effect on both characters because John is distressed and intensely confused about his life and also the person that he is becoming. John is angry because he feels trapped and he longs to get an understanding of the world to offer, on the other hand he is frightened by sin. Frank fears is the war that he just left. Frank’s own wounds are entrenched in his brain and his heart. He is troubled by his own agonizing action of aggression. His long-drawn-out sorrow over his friends’ demises permits him to evade even greater sorrow. John is angry because he feels that he has to live up to some expectations in his religious family that those on the outside do not have to deal with. Frank frustration and fear has less to do with expectations but Frank is an angry, self-hating soldier of the Korean War who, after shocking involvements on the front lines, discovers himself back in bigoted America that has more than just physical scars to bear. The place he calls home does seem foreign to him nevertheless he is stunned out of his crippling indifference with the desire to free his homeopathically abused little sister and then take her back to the small town in Georgia where he came from but at the same time, hated his entire life. As Frank reenters his reminiscences from the place as a child and the war that have left him inquiring his awareness of self, he notices a deep courage in wanting to try and overcome his sense of fear and anger.
Symbolism in both novels appeared to be something that was sort of a coming of age transformation. However, each symbol signified different things in each book. Even though there are no particular symbols in Go Tell It on the Mountain, there are numerous hints to various biblical stories unlike the “Home”. The name of the last part, “The Threshing Floor,” is accurately a location where the wheat is supposed to be separate from the chaff. The chaff, is supposed to be symbolize evil and insignificant individuals, is taken the book of John in this last chapter of the bible. There is also the mention to the father-son connection among John and Gabriel and between Ham and Noah. Ham is the one that observes Noah who is naked and then puts a curse upon his son and also the children; in the novel, John perceives Gabriel nude in the lavatory and agonizes sorrow from it. However, in Morrison’s novel, there are no biblical symbolisms.
However, there are other symbolisms in each novel that do have a figurative meaning. For instance, in Baldwin’s novel the significance of The Church of the Fire Baptized cannot be exaggerated. With Morrison it was the military because it symbolized an escape from something. With the Baldwin’s novel, the church was a place that appeared to be acting as an attachment for its associates and promises that they will have the resources of heaven when their poverty-stricken lives are over. It gives a community where the individuals are able to find the backing and direction and share their distress and their gladness with people of the same mind. Moral rules are recognized and associates are projected to also live by what they know. In this fashion, it communicates to the group ethics and disheartens critical behavior. However, for John the church was bitter sweet. At times it was a place for an escape from the outside world but at the same time it was a prison for him as well.
With Frank, the military was a place of escape. To him, enlisting into the military means that he would have to desert his sister Cee, who really was dependent on his protection and love. She had been abused by her grandmother and Frank was stuck between a decision of staying and taking care of her or using the army as his means of escape. The military was a symbol of a place for Frank to run to in order to escape the stressors of life.
The church and the military for both characters was also an outlet for suppressed energy and emotions. However, the military for Frank served more of a place of aggression for him since it is a place of comeback. However, violence is not an informally satisfactory way by which to handle their frustration and anger. Getting rid of those passions in church through clapping, shouting, and singing really gives a satisfactory announcement of bottled up emotion in the book for John at times and others it was repulsive. At the church, vigor that could have possibly been turned into aggression is communicated through prayer. In the military for Frank, that energy was expressed through the fighting out in the field. On the other hand, in Baldwin’s novel, there are disadvantages in The Church of the Fire Baptized. The people that attend the church are unyielding in their way of being rational and can be hypercritical in how they may perceive other people. Evidence of this conduct can be discovered in the names that they have for each other. Those that are members of the church are named “saints.” However, if the church has these saints, sinners are not far behind, and those that are sinners are the ones that seem to be everyone but themselves. In the military, for Frank there is no sense of right or wrong. Thought this place has turned out to be his escape from his other world, at times this dwelling of getaway could at any moment could take his life. With war raging all around him, it was no longer that place of security for Frank. It was a location of death and location that was lacking supremacy. It was just the opposite in Baldwin’s novel; attending church fills everyone with a sentiment of ethical supremacy. On occasion it seems as though there is a competition to observe the person that is supposed to be the most consecrated and the most truthful in the church. For example, Sister McCandles speaks something of John, “Before anybody else, this child is going to make it to the Kingdom,” as if redemption is this race to the finish line where one gets a reward at the end.
Racism is something that bonds the two novels. Set in different times, the outcomes are different as people in both novels try to survive racist America. However, Baldwin’s story dealt with the issue much less. Baldwin handles the concern or subject of racism and race more elliptically in his literature, but Morrison central theme in his book does highlight around the issue and also the humiliation of not being accepted after fighting for a nation that does not want you. All through this age, numerous African-Americans were needy and adhered to religion as a way of managing. During this time of Baldwin’s novel, African-Americans were likewise tremendously separated from whites, ever since around this era; although the book does not mention much on it, Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka was a popular case during this time. However, unlike Morrison’s novel, this time is way past the time of racism nonetheless is right before the start of the concluding thrust for civil rights. In Baldwin’s novel, one of the characters Roy at one time left with his friends all the way to the different side of town to pick a get in a fight with some boys that are white. John has this sense that his dad has this notion it were John that he wanted to have seen beat up rather than his brother. In the novel, John’s dad makes John observe the cut and makes his way over to him to explain that this is a warning from the Lord, stating, “This is the way white people treat niggers.” However, John’s aunt and mother object.
However, in Morrison’s novel, the wounds go in much deeper. The meat of the story, has it background with a soldier coming home from a war to deal with the racism in his own country. This vital core is comprised of 1950s American society, a ruthless African -American involvement widespread all over the United States, the Moneys’ family past fears of being ran out of town, alongside with 16 other groups of families, by a cluster of men that had managed to beat to death the only old black male that chose not to shift. And in the first elegantly transcribed act in the book, Frank and Cee , as youngsters, observe a group of men concealing a black individual in a hole that they had dug themselves in the past. Frank was very disheartened because he fought for a racist nation which still separated and declined to recognize his obligation to his nation. Frank “loiters” around, which reasons suspicion from police.
Manhood is something else that both novels had in common. For John just being a fourteen year old boy trying to hide his masturbation and sexuality and Frank just trying to become a worthy person in a country that sees the color of his skin. However, part of John manhood is struggling with the love of his father. John knows that he is not the favorite son in his father’s eyes, instead that love is reserved for Roy, John’s younger brother. John feels less than a man because he wants the approval of his dad. John is torn among his longing to be able to win his dad’s love yet at the same time he wrestles with the hidden hatred that is bottled up inside of him.
Alongside with manhood is Frank’s precise impression that unsettled disgrace is a danger. Frank watches a black man get beat up at a train station. The wife of the man interferes and they in cooperation accomplish to re-board the train with Frank. Now, Frank understands this scene and envisions that the man will confidently abuse his wife as soon as they return home. She now has born as a witness to his masculine susceptibilities. There is not any male that could actually stand for that, believes Frank who suffers from a much bigger disgrace.
On the other hand, John is dealing with the disgrace of sin. John really thinks of himself to have committed the first big sin of his young life—a sin that just questions everything about his manhood. Before the night is over John will experience a religious alteration, undergoing redemption on the “threshing-floor” of his parent’s storefront church in Harlem. Nevertheless his manhood is still shattered because this act will not even earn the love that he so desires from his father. However, the story makes it very clear the reason why these attempts are failing over and over. The thing that John is completely unaware of is the fact, is that this man that he so wants the approval from is not his real father but indeed he is the, his stepfather; not known to John, Gabriel’s bitterness of him does not have anything to do with himself and a lot to do with Gabriel’s own hidden previous years in his life.
With Frank, part are his manhood had a lot to do with him enlisting to fight a war which mentioned before was an act of adventure and escape. Unlike, John in Go tell it on the Mountain, Frank in order to keep his manhood intact was not trying to get any approval from a loved one or a family member but instead from a racist nation. Frank, having witnessed the gory deaths of his friends, just like observing the committal of the unidentified black person, was submissive, debilitating experiences. The leading time Frank discovers a chance to take a position and fight back is when he learns that his beloved sister is close to death. Part of his manhood is when he rescues her, scorching with fever and scrawny, from the medic’s grasp. The physician has been in the process of executing medical trials on the black individuals that he considers trashy and no good. This act of bravery is what really sealed his manhood.
In the end, both novels touched on finding acceptance. In go tell it on the Mountain, each character in this novel has had to deal with their own neglect and loss concerns. John is not liked at all by the man that is raising him. His father has then has to cope with the loss of his first wife, Deborah, in addition to a mistress, Esther. Then His mother also lost her first lover, Richard, in his fight to discover parity with white men. Aunt Florence was disadvantaged of affection after her mother, who really favored Gabriel over her, and wedded Frank, a betting drunk who finally died during the course of WWI. Later on in order to find peace in their life, they all turn to God for redemption. In Morrison’s book, Frank wanted acceptance from society to see him as a ma without color. He wanted acceptance because he fought a bloody war that he almost died in yet he was not seen as a hero in his own land. In the end, he gets his redemption when he feels that he no longer needs that approval.
In conclusion, in Toni Morrison’s book, a girl and a boy are able to walk away from their past. Each of them was able challenge atrocities a lot of people were not able to imagine. In the James Baldwin book, a boy turns into a man when he is able to accept the person that God made him to be. Both of these books have similar themes and symbols but one thing that is certain is that they share a coming of age story. Both of them are stories where two African-American males are caught up in an era of great discrimination but end the end, they over come every odd that was set against them.
Baldwin, James. “Go Tell it on the Mountain.” New York City: Dial Press Trade Paperback, 2006. 1-245.
Morrison, Toni. “Home.” New York City: Knopf; First Edition edition, 2005. 1-160.