The Hypocrisy behind the Corrupted Religion
In James Baldwin’s novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, Gabriel Grimes is characterized as a hypocrite, which shows the theme of how religion is corrupted by man. Baldwin introduces Gabriel as a serious and religious father; however he abuses the idea of religion. When Gabriel was left alone with his dying mother, he saw religion as a salvation. As a young adult he lost himself and began to have numerous love affairs. Consequently, Gabriel began to use religion as his protection to cover up all of his sinful doings. Even after Gabriel became a father, he continued his old ways, and made it difficult for his family to understand him or the true meaning of religion.
When Gabriel was a child, he relied on his mother and his sister Florence. The beginning of Florence’s prayer, takes the reader into a flashback when Gabriel was very young. This is the moment when his sister confesses that she is leaving:
“Ma,” she (Florence) said, “I’m going. I’m a-going this morning.”
…”You going where?” her mother asked sharply
...he (Gabriel) repeated his mother’s question in a stunned, angry voice, understanding it only as the word hit the air: “Yes girl. Where you think you going?”
“I’m going,” she said, “to New York. I got my ticket.”
And her mother watched her. For a moment no one said a word. Then, Gabriel in a changed and frightened voice, asked:
“And when you done decide that?”
…”And you going,” cried Gabriel, “his morning – just like that? And you going to walk off and leave your mother just like that?”
…he dropped his eyes…He could not endure the thought of being left alone with his mother... (Baldwin 83-4)
When Gabriel realized that he would be left alone with his dying mother, he became overwhelmed. He reacted angry and doleful. Being left alone with his mother is what led him to lose himself. “When...