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

The third section of Part Two opens with the couplet

Lord, I wish I had died

In Egypt Land.

These two lines reveal Elizabeth’s state of mind. Elizabeth had married Gabriel because she believed he cared for her and would provide her security. However, he had changed his attitude towards her after marriage. He had started imposing his authority on her and John and taken them to task for unavoidable mistakes committed by them. Now, she repents having married him. She regrets losing Richard and being his wife. The reference to ‘Egypt land’ is symbolic of her happy though insecure life with Richard.

Elizabeth’s plight is like that of Florence in some respects. Both she and Florence are good looking women who were wooed by many men before they got married. Florence had chosen Frank as her life partner and hoped to lead a harmonious life with him. However, Frank had let her down. He had taken to drinking and wasteful spending. After he had walked out of her life, she was left to lead a lonely and miserable life. In the case of Elizabeth, she had eloped with Richard and dreamt of leading a life of love and fun with him. However, insecurity and fear haunts them in New York and they find it very difficult to realize their dream. Richard dies before marrying her and leaves her pregnant with his child. Elizabeth like Florence feels disillusioned with her love life and spends the rest of her days in regret.


Gabriel’s hypocrisy is exposed in this section of the novel as well. He charms Elizabeth with his suave manners and polite words. He sympathizes with her lot and persuades her to marry him. He promises to respect her wishes and care for John as his own child. However, Gabriel exposes his true nature soon after marriage. He takes Elizabeth for granted and is harsh to John. He leaves her to shoulder the responsibility of the house and children and blames her when something goes wrong. He fails to appreciate her work or understand her sentiments. He is suspicious of her past, but forgets his own sexual escapades. Gabriel takes advantage of the helplessness of Elizabeth and marries her to fulfil his needs. He is a selfish individual who hides his guilt behind his arrogance.

Elizabeth is more concerned about John than herself. She loves him as much as she had loved Richard. John reminds her of Richard and true love and she desires the good things of life for the boy. However, she is not sure whether Gabriel would allow him to flower in life. Thus, she feels sorry for John and shows concern for him when he utters a soulful cry under the spell of godly power.

Elizabeth is unlucky in love. In childhood, she had loved her father and desired his company but her aunt had taken her away from him. She was denied a father’s love that she had craved for. In youth, she had fallen in love with Richard and looked forward to leading a happy married life with him. Fate intervenes and takes away Richard from her life. Her love life is abruptly interrupted. Later, she meets Gabriel and considers him a gift of god in marriage. However, his arrogant attitude after marriage proves contrary to his earlier humble manner and she feels cheated in love. Thus, Elizabeth is unlucky in love and life.

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