Go Tell It on the Mountain By James Baldwin Character Analysis Ester

Ester is a Hedonist: She does as she chooses when she chooses. She is unfettered by notions of sin and shame and is unconcerned with what others may think of her. She is an attractive young woman with many boyfriends who enjoys her employer's whiskey but not regular church attendance. It is a combination of these factors that initially draws Gabriel to her.

Ester's free and easy ways remind the reader of the young Gabriel before his conversion. Gabriel, for a short time, is able to live his old life again through his relationship with Ester. He is unwilling, however, to join her permanently in her "sinful" lifestyle, electing to return to his joyless marriage to Deborah and his life as a respected member of the community. Gabriel the Reverend condemns Ester for the lifestyle that he himself had once led. That he is attracted to Ester demonstrates that he is still attracted to his old ways.

Pride is another characteristic of the young woman. She is angry when Gabriel breaks off their affair but she does not argue with him in an attempt to prolong the relationship. Although she has had a number of previous boyfriends, she is insulted when Gabriel questions whether the unborn child is his. She may have a different moral code than Gabriel, but she lives by that code more consistently than Gabriel is able to follow his own.

Ester's pride also makes her unwilling to let the townspeople discover her condition. She is not ashamed but simply reluctant for her "mamma and daddy to know what a fool [she had] been." Although not ashamed of herself, she is ashamed of Gabriel and his response. He has hurt her pride and caused her to feel degraded and common. Ester is not a stupid woman. She knows Gabriel and his weaknesses and is able to use those against him to extort money for her trip to Chicago. Gabriel's pride and self importance preclude the possibility that he could allow the townspeople to know that a "harlot" is carrying the child of "the Lord's anointed." Ester is, by this point, well aware of what Gabriel thinks of her and uses his opinion of her to her own advantage.

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