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How Does Baldwin use form, structure and language Present Religion as a Pathway to Freedom
In the novel ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain ‘By James Baldwin the concept of freedom and religion are heavily intertwined within each other, especially within the central John Grimes and his internal struggle with how religion affects freedom, Baldwin however represents religion as a pathway to various types of freedom to different characters such as Gabriel’s strive for power, Baldwin out heavy emphasis on what freedoms or in some cases restrictions that religions impose. This essay will explore how Baldwin uses form, structure and language to present religion as a pathway to freedom within both John and Gabriel Grimes.
The novel immediately opens with “Everyone had always said that John would be a preacher when he grew up, just like his father.” Straight away John is labelled as becoming a preacher, he is labelled constantly even by those around him this lead to him having “had come to believe it himself” I believe that Baldwin opened with that line to show that John may have viewed religion as a form of restriction, mainly the restriction of freedom of what John wants to become in the future, whenever Johns needs to make a decision for himself he has to consult to religion , a by product of his belief that he will become preacher, for instance when john masturbated in the toilets rather than viewing it a natural stage in puberty , his strong religious upbringing led to him believing that he had committed a sin that was “ hard to forgive” John was haunted by his ‘sin’, this may have been due to the fact john was expected to become the next preacher and should be void of sin , this leads to johns over exaggerating his ‘sin’ therefore Baldwin shows us how religion restricted johns sexual freedom. However near the end of the novel Baldwin used the weather to show how johns religious transformation changed john stating how “now the storm was over” and that the “sun was begging to stir” this use of imagery shows how john was at first like the “storm” religion left him clouded and angry inside, this soon however to change and that the “sun “empathises the illumination religion has given him.

On the other hand Baldwin shows a different way religion grants freedom and that is seen through Gabriel Grimes has a very different view of religion at first he is seen as a truly religious figure by those around him this is shown by Gabriel’s enthusiasm of the bible albeit through chanting “my lord, my lord” during the beating he gives his children, or when having illegitimate children Gabriel has always viewed religion as a certain freedom...freedom of power. Ostensibly Gabriel may not seem to exploit religion for power, especially since he is a preacher, one prominent is when Gabriel fathered a illegitimate chid with a woman named Esther however Gabriel is thinking of his position as a pastor and won’t have news of his illegitimate child ruin his reputation since he is keen to preserve his image of himself. Gabriel also describes his transition from sin into holiness by saying, “then I praised God, who had brought me out of Egypt…” this is a reference from the story of Moses and Gabriel is comparing himself to the prophet. From this point, he has become a new man with his body renewed, free from any past sin. Nonetheless, he wanted power from God just to become the “anointed one” therefore allowing him to have the most power religiously. He insures that the supposed holy status is kept intact by enforcing rules upon Roy and John. Any did he does not approve of, that puts his name in jeopardy he classifies it as sinful thus prohibited. He is hypocritical from this as Gabriel has committed countless sins before and after his renewal of the body. However, he would not of been a powerful religious figure within his community of he did not commit those sins and living his life as wild as he could. Converting from a life of sin and temptations made his position the more momentous

To conclude Baldwin showed how religion could be a seen as oppressive within johns early perspective but then the enlightenment it can give later on, while also parrelling Gabriel view of religion as a pathway to freedom of power.…...

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