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The plot of Go Tell it on the Mountain is simple. The novel opens with the dilemma faced by John Grimes on his fourteenth birthday. In order to highlight the crisis in his life, it exposes the life of other characters that had influenced to shape Johnís character. The last part of the novel reveals the trauma John undergoes before he establishes his identity. The plot of the novel, thus, can be traced through the beginning, the middle and the end.
The beginning of the novel, comprising of Part One, shows John in conflict with his surroundings and the attitude of his father. Thus, in a mood to rebel against his authoritarian father who wishes him to become a priest when he grew up, he tastes freedom and worldly pleasures. However, despite his anger against his father, he feels guilty for his actions. In this state of mind, he goes to the church for the evening prayers. The beginning of the novel, thus, reveals the crisis in Johnís life.
The middle of the novel, comprising of the three sections of Part Two, relates the life story of Florence, Gabriel and Elizabeth. In the process, they reveal hidden secrets about Johnís birth and his status in his family. John being the illegitimate son of Elizabeth and Richard comes to light. Also, Gabrielís reluctance to accept him as his son and treating John as an alien in his home are told to the readers. These facts help in understanding the psyche of John on his fourteenth birthday.
The end of the novel, comprising of Part Three, exposes the turbulent state of mind of John before he attains salvation. John goes through the pangs of guilt and fear before establishing a rapport with god. Finally, as he is enlightened, he is relieved. He has resolved the crisis in his life and established his identity as the messenger of god. The novel ends on a note of hope.