Sunday, October 13, 2019

James Baldwins Go Tell It On the Mountain and Alice Sebolds The Lovel

James Baldwin's Go Tell It On the Mountain and Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones In most religions, especially the Judeo-Christian faith, heaven or the afterlife is a place reserved for those who are able to somehow earn or receive an appointed place there during their life on earth. In the Christian tradition, those who attain eternal life are able to forgo the earthly pleasures that tempt them while they live, and form a separate entity that rejects carnality and remains obedient to God. While recognizing themselves as inherently sinful creatures, they seek to come as close as they can to the holiness of the divine during their life on earth, in order to reap the benefits after death. A separation from the world and an eventual union with the divine is seen as the ultimate goal of the believer. Life is but a means to a final spiritual end. James Baldwin’s novel Go Tell It On the Mountain effectively portrays these ideas through the lives of its many characters. In contrast to the Christian idea of rejecting carnality while alive to attain salvati on, Alice Sebold uses her novel The Lovely Bones to portray coming of age as developing an ability to embrace life and succeed in it despite the pain and evil it can contain, and to see life as a fleeting privilege that, lived well, is an ultimate goal in itself. One important issue that distinguishes the differences between the perspectives of the two novels is that of forgiveness and rejection. In Go Tell It On the Mountain, judgment of sinners is highly emphasized, even if the sinners in questions are family members. Once someone becomes saved, they are expected to reject all ties associated with the world. In Baldwin’s novel, the protagonist reflects that, â€Å"†¦h... ...t life for both the joy and pain it inflicts on all people. To Sebold, the divine can and is present in carnality. While the word has a traditionally negative connotation, here it is representative of all that is associated with life itself. In this novel, carnality is not sin; it is living. Alice Sebold presents a moving and telling novel of loss and gain, despair and great happiness. To her, the ability to live life, and the willingness to accept it, are the marks of maturity, and the definition of love. While Susie, alone in heaven, cannot live as her family does, she comes of age as she releases them to their lives and moves on in her own world without them. The reader knows, as the novel closes with Susie’s parting words, that their protagonist is at peace, and that love has indeed won out over despair. â€Å"I wish you all a long and happy life.†

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.