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Free MonkeyNotes-Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin-Free Notes
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Part 3

The Threshing Floor

Summary

Part Three reveals Johnís agony before he achieves salvation. As he falls down on the floor of the church, he undergoes mental turmoil. He remembers the sins he had committed and believes god would punish him for them. His sins are small but he is afraid they are unpardonable. Thus, he visualizes himself struggling to get up from the floor and escaping out of reach of god. His conscience troubles him. On one hand, he feels the need to reach out to god, on the other he is tempted to escape out into the world to enjoy its pleasures. When he tries to get up, he is unable to do so. He is like one possessed. He feels the weight of his body on the floor and tied down to it. He is afraid he has fallen down in the eyes of god and hence, is dragged to hell. He observes Elisha standing above him at the altar and his father behind him.

Elisha inspires John to rise up and reach out to god, while his father threatens to drag him down with guilt. He longs to be like Elisha and escape out of the reach of his father. The vision of his father creates fear in his heart and he is desperate to get out of his clutches. He is afraid he is damned and loses all hope of redemption. However, he is saved just on time. He hears the voice of god urging him to get up. His heart kindles with hope. He tries to rise up but is unable to pull himself up. Every time he gives up, the voices persuades him to try harder. Finally, he observes a light and gets enlightened to stand up. Elisha comes forward to cheer him. Soon, his mother, aunt and the sisters of the Convent congratulate him and bless him. John is elated. He experiences a strange feeling that enervates him. Only his father refrains from applauding him.


As they leave the church, John walks with Elisha; his father walks with Gabriel and the Sisters walk with his mother. The sisters of the Convent share his motherís joy and wish her all the best. Florence warns Gabriel from ill-treating John and Elizabeth. She also shows him the letter written by Deborah exposing his affair with Esther and the birth of their bastard. Gabriel is shaken but appears unperturbed. Florence warns him before taking leave of him.

John thanks Elisha for his encouragement and asks him to pray for his soul. Elisha promises to help John before bidding the boy goodbye. John, who had earlier felt hesitant to enter his house, now steps inside with confidence. He also faces his father boldly and smiles at him, even though Gabriel looks at him with bitterness.

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