Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
PLOT SUMMARY (Synopsis) (continued)
Gabriel had accepted the offer to preach at a neighboring house. Deborah had lent him moral support and encouraged him to execute his job. Thus, he became a preacher. After his motherís demise, Deborah had been his constant companion and conscience keeper. She had helped him to address an august gathering of religious men and get recognized a good speaker. Gabriel was indebted to her and thus, had offered to marry her. Their married life was peaceful, though it lacked excitement.
In the house of the white family where he worked as a helper, he had met the charming Esther. He had befriended her and invited her to listen to his sermon. Esther had liked him, though not his religious ideologies. Thus, she had lured him towards a relationship with her. Gabriel had felt guilty but had carried on the torrid affair for a week. Finally, he had broken off with her. Deborah had suspected the affair but had kept silent. Esther had got pregnant with his child and had persuaded Gabriel to marry her. When Gabriel had refused to comply with her demand, Esther had asked him to give her money to go abroad for her confinement. Gabriel had stolen the money from Deborahís box and given it to Esther. Esther had gone away but had returned back after the birth of their child. She had died soon after.
Estherís parents were looking after the little boy. Deborah had paid them visits often and reported about the growth of the child to Gabriel. Gabriel had felt guilty but refrained from confessing his sin to his wife. Whenever he met his son, Royal, he would exchange pleasantries with him and warn him against the danger of encountering white men. However, Royal had gone to Chicago and got killed by white men. When Deborah had told Gabriel about it, the latter had been shocked. He had broken down and confessed his relationship with Esther to his wife. Deborah had felt sorry for the boy and was sad that she could not take care of him.
After Deborahís demise, Gabriel had moved to the North. Here, he had met Elizabeth and had married her. He had promised to accept her son as his own but could not consider him as his offspring. He regrets having lost Royal and losing the trust of Roy. His heart is heavy. He seeks the mercy of god to enlighten his life.
It is Elizabethís turn to offer her prayers and unburden her heart in front of the Lord. As a child she had been cheerful and happy. Her mother was strict with her but her father was indulgent towards her. She had loved her father but was deprived of his love, when her aunt had taken her away from him after her motherís demise. She was fed up of her auntís discipline and had longed to taste the pleasures of life. Thus, she had got drawn to Richard who had worked as a clerk in a departmental store. When Richard had asked her to accompany him to New York, she had followed him. However, she had to undergo a life of struggle in the city, especially after Richardís death. She also had to suffer the pangs of bearing and bringing up her illegitimate child all alone.
In the place where she worked as a cleaner, Elizabeth had met Florence and befriended her. Florence had sympathized with her plight and invited her home. On one of her visits to Florence, she had met Gabriel and got impressed by his dignified manner. He had given her moral support to face her life with courage and offered to marry her. Elizabeth had felt honored to accept his proposal. However, Gabriel had changed his attitude towards her after marriage. He had questioned her past life and felt reluctant to accept John as his child. He was always stern and formal with the boy. Today, he had raised his hand against her and provoked her children. Elizabethís heart is full and she prays to God to make life better for her and her son.
As Elizabeth looks towards John, the latter falls down on the floor in a state of delirium. He is not sure whether he would be able to get up. He is afraid god would keep him down for the sins he had committed. He is also tempted to escape out of the church and taste the pleasures of life. His mind is in turmoil. He remembers the past and fears about the sins he had committed. He relates his father to his sins and hates the latter for it. Thus, fearing the wrath of god, he gives up the effort to get up. However, an ethereal voice persuades him to try and reach up to god. He goes through a great struggle before he gains the strength to stand on his feet. And when he does that, he feels excited. Elisha is the first one to congratulate him. His mother is proud of him and the sisters wish him the best. Only Gabriel cautions him about the difficult way ahead.
As the book closes, John steps into his house with confidence. He is no more afraid of his father or apprehensive about his destiny. He is determined to follow the path of god and work towards his goal. He is not angry with his father any more. He smiles at Gabriel, even as the other frowns at him.