Elizabeth and Richard’s son, Gabriel’s stepson, and the protagonist of Go Tell It on the Mountain. Elizabeth gives birth to John out of wedlock after Richard’s suicide and Gabriel is not his… read analysis of John
The antagonist in Go Tell It on the Mountain and John’s stepfather. Gabriel is born to Rachel, a former slave, in the American South during the Reconstruction Era. Gabriel grows up under the… read analysis of Gabriel
Gabriel’s wife, and mother to John, Roy, Sarah, and Ruth. After Elizabeth’s mother dies when Elizabeth is just eight years old, Elizabeth’s aunt insists that Elizabeth’s father, who runs… read analysis of Elizabeth
Gabriel’s sister, Rachel’s daughter, and Frank’s wife. Florence grows up resenting her brother and all men because her mother gives Gabriel preferential treatment. Rachel gives Gabriel better food and better clothes, and… read analysis of Florence
Florence’s closest friend and Gabriel’s first wife. As a young girl, Deborah is brutally raped by a group of white men, and because of this, her community looks at her with “reproach” as… read analysis of Deborah
Florence and Gabriel’s mother. Rachel is born a slave on a Southern plantation and is not liberated until she is over thirty years old. Rachel’s life as a slave is full of heartache. She… read analysis of Rachel
Father James’s nephew and a young preacher in John’s Harlem church. Elisha is handsome and kind, and John is very obviously attracted to him. John looks up to Elisha because he is young… read analysis of Elisha
Royal’s mother and Gabriel’s mistress. Gabriel has an affair with Esther while he is married to Deborah, and this affair results in Royal’s birth. Gabriel associates Esther with “flame” and “the eternal… read analysis of Esther
Elizabeth and Gabriel’s son and John’s brother. Presumably, Roy is short for Royal, a name Gabriel gives his son “because the line of the faithful [is] a royal line,” and his son is… read analysis of Roy
Gabriel’s “bastard son” with Esther. After Esther dies, Royal is raised by his grandparents, never knowing his father. Esther names her son Royal to “mock” Gabriel, who wants to name his first son… read analysis of Royal
Florence’s ex-husband. According to Florence, Frank is “determined to live and die a common [n_____].” Frank “drinks too much” and “sings the blues.” He is never able to buy Florence a house, or anything… read analysis of Frank
A “young and handsome” man, who is also “kind” and “generous.” Like Elizabeth, her father is “dark,” and he is “gentle” and “proud.” Elizabeth is “the apple of his eye,” and he treats his… read analysis of Elizabeth’s Father
Elizabeth’s mother dies when Elizabeth is just eight years old. She is described as “very fair, and beautiful,” and her health is fragile. Elizabeth hardly knows her mother, and she “never loved her.” Elizabeth’s mother… read analysis of Elizabeth’s Mother
The older sister of Elizabeth’s mother. Elizabeth’s aunt insists that Elizabeth move to Maryland to live with her after Elizabeth’s mother dies. Elizabeth’s aunt had loved the girl’s mother, but she doesn’t love Elizabeth… read analysis of Elizabeth’s Aunt
The preacher at John’s church, the Temple of the Fire Baptized, and Elisha’s uncle. Gabriel is the “head deacon” at the church, but it is Father James who preaches on Sundays and leads… read analysis of Father James
Mother Washington’s granddaughter and a member of John’s Harlem church. Father James condemns Ella Mae publicly after church services for “walking disorderly” with Elisha. Ella Mae and Elisha’s relationship was entirely innocent… read analysis of Ella Mae
A member of the Temple of the Fire Baptized. Sister McCandless is “one of the biggest and blackest [women] God has ever made,” and she has a loud, booming voice that is perfect for preaching… read analysis of Sister McCandless
A member of John’s Harlem church. Sister Price is at the Temple of the Fire Baptized on John’s fourteenth birthday when he is saved on the threshing-floor.
Ella Mae’s grandmother, who is a member of John’s Harlem church. Mother Washington “helps” Florence to pray when she comes to the Temple of the Fire Baptized for the first time.
Elizabeth’s distant relative in Harlem. When Elizabeth moves North to be with Richard, she moves in with Madame Williams, “a respectable female relative.” Madame Williams constantly burns incense and holds “spiritualists séances” on Saturday nights.
Elizabeth and Gabriel’s daughter and John’s younger sister. Baldwin writes that Gabriel “fondles” his daughter, and, presumably, it is Sarah whom he abuses.
Elizabeth and Gabriel’s infant daughter and John’s baby sister.