37 pages 1 hour read

James Baldwin

The Amen Corner

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1954

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Important Quotes

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“But a saint of God ain’t got no business delivering liquor all day—how you going to spend all day helping folks into hell and then think you going to come here in the evening and help folks into heaven?”

(Act I, Page 9)

Brother Boxer’s job of driving the liquor truck is one of the main points of contention between Margaret and some members of her congregation. This is the first time this conflict is mentioned in the play, and it becomes a recurring conflict that eventually helps lead to Margaret’s downfall in the church. By the end of the play, as part of her character journey, she will show her humanity and lose her condescending persona.

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“Maybe the Lord wants you to leave that man.”

(Act I, Page 14)

Ida Jackson’s sick baby reminds Margaret of her own stillborn child. Margaret advises Ida to do the same thing she did, which is to take the child as a sign from God to leave her husband. This scene foreshadows one of the bigger reveals of the play: that Margaret left Luke, not the other way around.

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“The Lord give me eyes too, Mama, but I still had to go to school to learn how to read.”

(Act I, Page 19)

This is the first time that readers get a hint that David is doubting his faith. He does not shy away from correcting his mother, which is the first step to him eventually leaving and following his own path.