Go Tell It on the Mountain Book Summary - Go Tell It on the Mountain Book explained in key points

Go Tell It on the Mountain summary

Brief summary

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin is a powerful novel that delves into the lives of an African American family in 1930s Harlem, exploring themes of religion, race, and identity.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    Go Tell It on the Mountain
    Summary of key ideas

    Struggles and Redemption in Go Tell It on the Mountain

    In Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin, we are introduced to the Grimes family, who live in Harlem in the 1930s. The story begins on the fourteenth birthday of John Grimes, the stepson of Gabriel, a strict and authoritarian preacher. John is struggling with his identity, his relationship with his family, and his faith. His mother, Elizabeth, is a deeply religious woman who has suffered a lot in her life, and his stepfather, Gabriel, is a harsh and unforgiving man.

    As the story unfolds, we learn about the family's history and the struggles they have faced. We see Gabriel's past as a young man in the South, his relationship with John's biological father, and the events that led to his marriage to Elizabeth. We also learn about Elizabeth's difficult life, her love for John's biological father, and her decision to marry Gabriel after becoming pregnant.

    John's internal struggle is a central theme in the novel. He feels disconnected from his family and their religious fervor. He is also grappling with his own sexuality, which he knows is considered a sin in his family's strict religious beliefs. John's internal conflict is further complicated by his strained relationship with his stepfather, Gabriel, who is harsh and unforgiving, and his deep love for his mother, Elizabeth.

    Revelations and Realizations

    As John's birthday progresses, he experiences a series of revelations and realizations. He has a vision of his life and the people around him, which forces him to confront his own fears and desires. He realizes that he cannot escape his family's history and the expectations placed upon him. He also comes to understand the complexity of his relationships with his family members, especially his mother and stepfather.

    Meanwhile, we also learn about the struggles of other characters in the novel. We see Gabriel's internal battle with his own past and his attempts to reconcile his actions with his religious beliefs. We witness Elizabeth's silent suffering and her unwavering faith in God, despite the hardships she has faced. We also learn about John's aunt, Florence, who has rejected her family's religious beliefs and lives a life of independence and defiance.

    Redemption and Acceptance

    In the final part of Go Tell It on the Mountain, we see John's spiritual awakening. After a night of intense self-reflection, he experiences a powerful religious conversion. He accepts his family's history and his place within it. He also comes to terms with his own desires and fears, finding a sense of peace and acceptance within himself.

    At the same time, we witness Gabriel's own moment of redemption. He confronts his past and his sins, seeking forgiveness and understanding. Elizabeth, too, finds solace in her faith, despite the pain and suffering she has endured. The novel ends with a sense of acceptance and reconciliation, as the characters come to terms with their past and look towards the future.

    In conclusion, Go Tell It on the Mountain is a powerful exploration of family, faith, and identity. Through the struggles of the Grimes family, James Baldwin delves into the complexities of human relationships and the enduring power of faith. The novel offers a poignant and insightful look at the African-American experience in the early 20th century, and the universal themes of love, forgiveness, and redemption.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Go Tell It on the Mountain about?

    Go Tell It on the Mountain is a powerful novel by James Baldwin that delves into the themes of religion, family, and race in 1930s Harlem. Through the story of a young boy named John, Baldwin explores the complexities of identity and the search for spiritual redemption. It is a compelling and thought-provoking read that offers a unique perspective on the African-American experience.

    Go Tell It on the Mountain Review

    Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953) by James Baldwin is a powerful exploration of religious fervor and personal struggle in 1930s Harlem. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • The book takes readers on a fascinating journey through the complex dynamics of a deeply religious African-American family, shedding light on the conflicts between faith and personal desires.
    • With its richly-drawn characters and honest portrayals of human emotions, the book offers a profound insight into the complexities of identity, religion, and race.
    • Through its evocative storytelling and vivid descriptions, the book immerses readers in the vibrant atmosphere of 1930s Harlem, making it anything but boring.

    Who should read Go Tell It on the Mountain?

    • Individuals seeking a deep exploration of religious and spiritual experiences
    • Readers interested in complex and multi-layered family dynamics
    • Those who appreciate lyrical and evocative writing that delves into themes of identity, race, and sexuality

    About the Author

    James Baldwin was an influential American author and social critic. He is best known for his essays and novels that explored themes of race, sexuality, and identity. Some of his notable works include Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time, and If Beale Street Could Talk. Baldwin's writing continues to be highly regarded for its powerful and thought-provoking commentary on the complexities of the human experience.

    Categories with Go Tell It on the Mountain

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Go Tell It on the Mountain FAQs 

    What is the main message of Go Tell It on the Mountain?

    The main message of Go Tell It on the Mountain is a powerful exploration of the complexities of identity, religion, and race in America.

    How long does it take to read Go Tell It on the Mountain?

    The reading time for Go Tell It on the Mountain varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Go Tell It on the Mountain a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Go Tell It on the Mountain is a profound and thought-provoking novel that offers deep insights into the human experience. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Go Tell It on the Mountain?

    The author of Go Tell It on the Mountain is James Baldwin.

    What to read after Go Tell It on the Mountain?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Go Tell It on the Mountain, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens
    • In Pursuit of the Unknown by Ian Stewart
    • The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark
    • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
    • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
    • ISIS by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan
    • Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder
    • Gutenberg the Geek by Jeff Jarvis
    • The True Believer by Eric Hoffer
    • Genome by Matt Ridley