Of the coming of john. The Souls of Black Folk Chapter 13: Of the Coming of John Summary & Analysis 2023-01-07
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The Souls of Black Folk Chapter 13: Of the Coming of John Summary & Analysis
The river floweth on. Then, as the storm burst round him, he rose slowly to his feet and turned his closed eyes toward the Sea. Gospel According To John The Gospel according to John initiates with the beginning of time. He seemed a young man pleasant to look upon, as he sat on the great black stump at the edge of the pines idly swinging his legs and smoking. When he is given the permission to open this school, he is told to follow a racially unequal curriculum that promotes submission to the United States' racial hierarchy. He had been nettled all day, and now at this he rose with a half-smothered oath, took his hat and cane, and walked straight to the schoolhouse.
And the lady drew away. So the train came, and he pinched his little sister lovingly, and put his great arms about his mother's neck, and then was away with a puff and a roar into the great yellow world that flamed and flared about the doubtful pilgrim. He would not like to be listless and idle, he thought, for he felt with the music the movement of power within him. When John returns home, all of his relatives and his neighbors throw a welcome back party. And yet he always planned to go back to Altamaha,—always planned to work there. Thus he passed out of the preparatory school into college, and we who watched him felt four more years of change, which almost transformed the tall, grave man who bowed to us commencement morning.
The Souls of Black Folk “Of The Coming of John” Summary and Analysis
The people moved uneasily in their seats as John rose to reply. Just then his eye caught a tall, willowy figure hurrying toward him on the narrow path. He was wrinkled and black, with scant gray and tufted hair; his voice and hands shook as with palsy; but on his face lay the intense rapt look of the religious fanatic. When at last he stood upon the bluff, he turned to his little sister and looked upon her sorrowfully, remembering with sudden pain how little thought he had given her. This is a first indication that the message of the New Covenant would be different to the Old Covenant. Thus he grew in body and soul, and with him his clothes seemed to grow and arrange themselves; coat sleeves got longer, cuffs appeared, and collars got less soiled. Throughout his time in school, he never visited his home, as he took his studies very seriously.
They reminded John of the sea, as he sat in the square and watched them, so changelessly changing, so bright and dark, so grave and gay. Yonder in the gray past he had played with that dead boy, romping together under the solemn trees. Analysis "Of the Coming of John" differs from the rest of the collection of essays, as it is a metaphorical presentation of the plight of the black and white man in the United States. And we who saw daily a new thoughtfulness growing in his eyes began to expect something of this plodding boy. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the Veil. He leaned back and smiled toward the sea, whence rose the strange melody, away from the dark shadows where lay the noise of horses galloping, galloping on.
He quivered, swayed, and bent; then rose aloft in perfect majesty, till the people moaned and wept, wailed and shouted, and a wild shrieking arose from the corners where all the pent—up feeling of the hour gathered itself and rushed into the air. He grew slowly to feel almost for the first time the Veil that lay between him and the white world; he first noticed now the oppression that had not seemed oppression before, differences that erstwhile seemed natural, restraints and slights that in his boyhood days had gone unnoticed or been greeted with a laugh. Now I like the colored people, and sympathize with all their reasonable aspirations; but you and I both know, John, that in this country the Negro must remain subordinate, and can never expect to be the equal of white men. The white people of Altamaha are not spending their money on black folks to have their heads crammed with impudence and lies. The Negroes were rent into factions for and against him, the parents were careless, the children irregular and dirty, and books, pencils, and slates largely missing. He was pushed toward the ticket—office with the others, and felt in his pocket for the new five—dollar bill he had hoarded.
Across the color line I move arm in arm with Balzac and Dumas, while smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. And we who saw daily a new thoughtfulness growing in his eyes began to expect something of this plodding boy. Rain spoiled the barbecue, and thunder turned the milk in the ice—cream. Yonder in the gray past he had played with that dead boy, romping together under the solemn trees. As the light dawned lingeringly on his new creations, he sat rapt and silent before the vision, or wandered alone over the green campus peering through and beyond the world of men into a world of thought. John never knew clearly what the old man said; he only felt himself held up to scorn and scathing denunciation for trampling on the true Religion, and he realized with amazement that all unknowingly he had put rough, rude hands on something this little world held sacred. He seized the Bible with his rough, huge hands; twice he raised it inarticulate, and then fairly burst into the words, with rude and awful eloquence.
A breath of air before the plunge, he said to himself in half apology. Mother sat yonder in the window watching; but sister Jennie stood on the platform, nervously fingering her dress, tall and lithe, with soft brown skin and loving eyes peering from out a tangled wilderness of hair. He was loud and boisterous, always laughing and singing, and never able to work consecutively at anything. For the first time the young man recognized his dark boyhood playmate, and John knew that it was the Judge's son. His parents were both of the tribe of Levi who were the tribe of the priests under the Old Covenant. He tried a nap, but it was too warm. He had been nettled all day, and now at this he rose with a half-smothered oath, took his hat and cane, and walked straight to the schoolhouse.
Prepare The Way: What the coming of John the Baptist means
While serving in the temple Zechariah was burning incense in accordance with the requirements of the priesthood, and while doing so he saw the angel of the Lord standing beside the altar of incense. He leaned back and smiled toward the sea, whence rose the strange melody, away from the dark shadows where lay the noise of horses galloping, galloping on. But full half the black folk followed him proudly to the station, and carried his queer little trunk and many bundles. And his heart sank below the waters, even as the sea-sand sinks by the shores of Altamaha, only to be lifted aloft again with that last ethereal wail of the swan that quivered and faded away into the sky. Then he seized a scrap of paper and wrote: "Dear Mother and Sister—I am coming—John.
The Coming of John the Baptist : Free Gift From God
He would not like to be listless and idle, he thought, for he felt with the music the movement of power within him. Carlisle Street runs westward from the centre of Johnstown, across a great black bridge, down a hill and up again, by little shops and meat—markets, past single—storied homes, until suddenly it stops against a wide green lawn. He attended Fisk College in Nashville, then earned his BA in 1890 and his MS in 1891 from Harvard. The white people of Altamaha are not spending their money on black folks to have their heads crammed with impudence and lies. Yonder, toward the sea, at the end of the path, came John slowly, with his head down.