37 pages 1 hour read

James Baldwin

The Amen Corner

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1954

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Tension Between Men and Women

Margaret, as a single mother, does her best to prove to herself that she made the right choice in leaving Luke. She says, “I praise my Redeemer that I got him raised right—even though I didn’t have no man—you think David missed Luke?” (18). Even though she is certain that she raised David well on her own and that women are better off leaving men who aren’t following God, there is a shred of doubt within her that propels conflict in the play.

The narrative implies that Margaret is the first woman preacher her congregation has had, at least for a long time. When the church members are discussing the previous pastor, Elder King, they remember his insistence on maintaining traditional gender roles within the church power structure. Sister Moore says, “He’d done got too high. He was too set in his ways. All that talk about not wanting women to preach. He didn’t want women to do nothing but just sit quiet” (22). Here, Baldwin uses dramatic irony, where the reader or audience is aware of something that the characters are not.