The Haunting of the Bible

As someone who comes from a ‘spiritual’ (my personal definition of the term is similar to agnostic) but not necessarily religious (which I define as closely observing and practicing one religion) I definitely was able to grasp that there was a religious meaning to Go Tell it on the Mountain, but I wasn’t even able to grasp an ounce of how intertwined this text was with the Bible until our in class activity.

Not only was I shocked to see how nearly every line in the Bible has influence on every line in Go Tell it on the Mountain, but I was shocked to see how it moved and followed our characters. While there are obvious parallels like Esther in the Bible and Esther in the novel both serving as temptresses attempting to ascend to a higher status symbol in their respective communities (for Biblical Esther this is the King, novel Esther this is Gabriel) that doesn’t necessarily mean that the entirety of Gabriel’s character is based off of the King or that Esther solely holds her character in Biblical Esther with her temptation (sex) mirrors the relationship we see with Adam and his eating of the apple. Additionally we also see our characters anxieties, which I identify as conflicts between their Biblical origins being put in contrast with their lived lives. A key component in this idea for me was John, a young person in formation, might not have a direct Biblical figure he parallels consistently throughout the novel which is why his anxieties around a variety of topics including masturbation for example aren’t tied necessarily to a person but rather a teaching, in this case Leviticus 15;4-6 which outlines a man with discharge as “unclean”. And further more obvious parallels with John and his frustration/anxiety/difficulty as he processes his sexuality.

My biggest question for our characters, namely John, is how conscious the impact of church teachings are for him as he navigates life and comes into his own? Does he draw the connection between church life and his own as an active one or because of Gabriel, a man who spearheads both religion and family are they one and the same?