Thursday, September 08, 2005

Baldwin's Confliction With Christianity girl over there at No Bastard Kids....suggested that I post a coupla paragraphs of my paper that was due this week in my Baldwin class. I have said before that I'm a bibliophile and a logophile...I carry my dictionary and thesaurus to every class lol..

Anyway...Here's the first 3 paragraphs of my first Graduate paper. All of the formatting is erased and I really don't feel like putting it back in. Know that I tabbed correctly and of course the title was underlined in the actual paper lol (can someone teach me some HTML PLEASE!)

The Question: Discuss Baldwin's opinion of Christianity within the first half of the book. Is it a scam? Is it credible?

My answer? Baldwin isn't sure. But of course I had to put it in fancy terms..

In the first half of the novel Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin, it is evident that Baldwin wrestled with many quandaries in connection with Christianity. He is unconvinced, cynical and distrustful of the benefits of Christian living. Baldwin also questions the validity of piousness. The struggles of Baldwin’s characters show his own personal ideas about the obstacles with the choice of following a religious life. Baldwin is unable to prove or disprove the legitimacy of Christianity and as a result, he leaves that question unanswered.

Baldwin is skeptical of the benefits of Christianity and piety. This indecision is most prevalent in the thoughts of the main character of Part One. John is an adolescent, who is grappling with his emergence into manhood. While on a secret jaunt to a movie house, he watches a newsreel depicting the secular life. This causes him to contemplate “and struggle(d) to find a compromise between the way that led to life everlasting and the way that ended in the pit.” (43) Being raised in a church focused environment, his lifestyle is very limited and most of the typical teenage activities are prohibited by his faith and also his father. By revealing John’s internal sufferings, Baldwin is able to convey his idea of the agony of involved with the selection of a pious Christian lifestyle.

Baldwin understands that choosing a devout lifestyle requires faith in the unknown, which can be difficult. Baldwin’s protagonist John continuously yearns for concrete assistance in choosing his direction in life. “He longed for a light that would teach him, forever and forever, and beyond all question, the way to go” (89). It would be an easier choice to make if John could have something to help him make the decision and remove the doubt from his heart. In John’s desire for a tangible guide to remove all vacillation, Baldwin displays the hardship of complete belief and a human’s need to question.

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Did you make it through the first three paragraphs? Oh you like me...u really do !

Reading this book makes me think about my own indecision with church. I grew up in the same style of Holiness church lifestyle, broke away, and am now back again. But do I believe that to be born again you have to speak in tounges? No..and I wish they would stop trying to tarry over me at the alter. I almost feel like they want to me just speak in Spanish just to give the appearance of another tongue and everyone can stop worrying over my soul cause I'm not ASHAMAKAMALA BULAKA -ing. One woman told me in the bathroom that she gives out the Holy Ghost. I said,"Somebody can give it out?" She assured me that it was possible. I asked my grandmother and she said "Stay away from that woman...can't nobody hand out the Holy Ghost like it's free cheese at the pantry. I wish the Pastor would make her quit that mess." (Grandma is funny as hell). But she also questions my indecisiveness with Christianity and a pious lifestyle. Grandma says that if she were here...I would have it by now...But isn't that what the other woman thought? That she could give me the Holy Ghost?

I also can't shout worth a damn. It's like being in a club and not knowing any of the dance steps. It's horrible...I will admit...I tried to fake it...I had on snakeskin heels with a matching suit...and like the other shouters...really wanted to kick up my heels that day. I was feeling particularly happy...choir was sanging like Jesus was coming that day! Got my ass in the aisle and managed to give myself three bruises on the shin and poor little Taty got kicked too. My last attempt at shouting. I know I should practice. I used to watch my youngest aunt (I have 6) on Saturday nights .... put on her church clothes and practice her shouting in the mirror to make sure she looked cute and she had the steps down pat. Maybe that's why I never really believed in shouting either...

All I'm trying to say is that I am one conflicted individual...Like Baldwin...Go cop the book yall...It really is a great read.

-Literary Diva

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