First, the book follows John, the main character’s thoughts and about his opinions relating to religion and how he goes through the emotional and psychological traumas due to the sadist attitude of his father with John and his family. (Baldwin 3-55)
The second chapter narrates the story of John’s aunt Florence who lives with them.Florencedid not have a pleasant childhood; she was the sister of Gabriel, John’s father, who was pampered by their parents while Florence was not given the same love. Tired of being treated the right way, Florence flees away toNew York, leaving her family behind. In New York,Florencegets married to Frank, a man of immoral conduct; resulting in an unhappy married life. Frank one day leavesFlorenceto participate in the army of World War 1, and dies. (Baldwin 54-62)
Third chapter narrates the story of Gabriel, John’s dad. Gabriel was a deviated man during his youth, who later reverted back to Christianity. Gabriel’s story involves his relationship with Deborah, and infidelity which caused his lover, Esther, to give birth to his illegitimate son, Royal. Deborah gets to know of Gabriel’s previous illicit relationships, and shows her disapproval until she dies. Later, Gabriel marries Elizabeth, John’s mother, but treats her with disrespect due to her previous relationship with her boyfriend, Richard. (Baldwin 87-92)
The fourth part of the book narrates the story of Elizabeth, John’s mother. After her mother’s death,Elizabethis compelled to live with her cold aunt. Nevertheless, she manages to go toNew Yorkand lives with her boyfriend Richard. Richard was a deviated man and did not believe in the traditions of the society. After gettingElizabethpregnant with his son, John, he failed to fulfill his promise of marrying her. Richard was then caught up with allegations of murder and robbery, in order to escape them; he committed suicide, abandoning his family.Elizabeththen met Gabriel and they got married. (Baldwin 151-161)
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