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Free MonkeyNotes-Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin-Free Notes
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Elizabethís prayer

Summary

After Florence and Gabriel, it is the turn of Elizabeth to reveal her inner self as she surrenders herself to god. Kneeling in front of the Lord and offering her prayers to Him, she recollects the past that had brought her both hope and despair. In childhood, her father had compensated for the love her mother had deprived her of. Her mother remained aloof from her. She wondered whether her mother, being fair and beautiful, felt ashamed to own her as her daughter. Her aunt, who lived with them, was stern and harsh. Only her father was very affectionate. He pampered her and gave in to all her wishes. She had adored him. She often wondered why her mother and aunt held him in contempt. After her motherís demise, her aunt had taken her away from her father. It was only then that she had become aware of her fatherís dubious profession. He owned a house for women of disrepute and a bar for vagabonds. Her aunt was afraid that Elizabethís image would be tarnished if she lived under his shadow. Thus, she had bid goodbye to her father, even though she felt bad doing so. She loved her father and she felt distressed to go away from him.

Her youth was carefree. She was aware of her good looks and was delighted with the attention boys gave her. She was angry with her aunt for restricting her life with rigid rules and regulations. She wanted to break away from the shackles of her guardian and escape to a distant land to enjoy her freedom. The opportunity came soon enough. She had met Richard at a departmental store where he worked as a clerk. His reserve and discipline had attracted her to him and she had felt the desire to renew her acquaintance with him. And the day he commended her appearance, she was excited. There was no turning back after that. She met him often and later, planned with him to go to New York.

Elizabethís aunt had not approved of Richard and warned the girl about going away with him. Elizabeth had remained unmoved and kept her stand. Her aunt had finally given her permission but laid down certain conditions for her. Elizabeth was to live with an elderly acquaintance and follow her advice. Thus, she had left her small town to go to the city of her dreams. However, the reality was far from her expectations. To survive in the big, bad city, she had to work as a cleaner in a hotel where Richard worked as an elevator boy. Only on Saturdays and Sundays, they could spend time together.


They had got adjusted to their life and were fairly happy. Richard was devoted to her. She had conceived his child but had kept it a secret from him. She did not want to shatter his dreams immediately. So, she waited for an opportune moment to tell him about it. However, such a moment never came. One day, he was beaten up by white youth and imprisoned for no fault of his. Richard had felt miserable. Elizabeth had tried all means and spent all her savings to release him. He did return home but he was no more the same person. His will was broken and he had committed suicide. With his death, Elizabethís life was shattered.

In the merciless city, Elizabeth had struggled hard to retain her dignity. Carrying the burden of her unborn child and working for a living was difficult. She had moved over to another locality to avoid embarrassment. Here, she had undergone the agony of delivering her child and tending to him. Shortly afterwards, she had found a night job. It is in this place of her work that she had met Florence. They had established rapport as suffering women. Florence had taken a liking to John and invited them home. In one of her visits, she had met Gabriel.

Elizabeth had admired Gabrielís refinement and dignity. She also found him sympathetic and understanding. He seemed to like John too. Thus, when he had proposed to her, she had accepted him willingly. However, her marriage to him was disappointing. He had taken care of her and John but failed to give them the love they deserved. He was harsh to them. Elizabeth is disillusioned. She hopes god would help her and her son in the future. As she prays to god, she hears the cry of John as he surrenders himself to god.

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