37 pages 1 hour read

James Baldwin

The Amen Corner

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1954

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Act IIChapter Summaries & Analyses

Act II Summary

After Margaret’s secret is revealed, members of the congregation start talking to each other. They start to wonder how Margaret can afford a new Frigidaire, while they are still stuck in poverty. They begin to wonder if their donations and tithes to the church are being used for Margaret’s own gain. Odessa, Margaret’s closest friend, overhears the conversation and scolds them for gossiping.

In Luke’s room, David is visiting his father. Luke tells him that he heard David playing before a service one night. He says, “You play piano like I dreamed you would” (40). David has been doing his own research on his musician father and is enamored with the life Luke has had. He tells him that he started playing piano, hoping that the two of them might get to play together one day. He’s kept all these ideas about Luke to himself because Margaret never wanted to talk about him.

David opens up about the pain he felt from thinking he’d been abandoned by Luke all these years. Luke tells him not to run away from the pain but to remember that it’s a part of life. He tells David that he and Margaret struggled when they had another baby who was stillborn.