John Crow's Devil Summary & Study Guide

Marlon James
This Study Guide consists of approximately 51 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of John Crow's Devil.
This section contains 568 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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John Crow's Devil Summary & Study Guide Description

John Crow's Devil Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on John Crow's Devil by Marlon James.

NOTE: This guide refers to the Kindle Edition of John Crow's Devil by Marlon James, Copyright 2005.

In Marlon James' novel, John Crow's Devil, Pastor Hector Bligh is supposed to be the religious leader of the people in the small village of Gibbeah. He is indifferent at best, spending most of his time drinking and ignoring the needs of his congregation. The people of the village consider him a joke and ignore any preaching he does. While they make fun of Bligh, they are also aware that it is nice to have a preacher who cannot afford to actually expect anything from his congregation.

The majority of the property in Gibbeah belongs to Mr. Aloysius Garvey. Mr. Garvey feels important. He had tried to change the name of the village to Garveyville, but no one was interested in making that change. He always attends church services with some young men he refers to as “nephew,” though no one really believes that family relationship exists. It was Mr. Garvey who hired Pastor Bligh.

One woman in the congregation is named Lucinda. She has written many letters, complaining about Pastor Bligh's performance. These letters have met with no success, though Lucinda has contacted every official she can think of. Meanwhile, Lucinda is struggling with her own demons, including a heightened sexual nature with no outlet. She privately admits that she prays to a heathen deity, not God. She learned black arts from her mother and now struggles to keep her two sides separate as Day Lucinda and Night Lucinda. She lets others see the actions of Day Lucinda, but she hides the activities of Night Lucinda.

One day, a man arrives unexpectedly at the church. He calls himself Apostle York. He bodily throws Pastor Bligh out of the church. Over the coming days, Pastor Bligh falls into deep despair. Then, he begins to work through his own shortcomings and realizes that he owes his congregation more than he has been giving. But, Apostle York is firmly ensconced. He has developed some followers, and he continues to thwart Pastor Bligh's efforts to take back the church. Lucinda quickly becomes one of his most avid followers.

Over the next few months, Apostle York works the congregation into a fury of self-righteous actions. They murder a man herding a cow home and brutally beat another man.

By this time, a young widow, Mary Greenfield, has taken Pastor Bligh into her home. She soon discovers that Apostle York was one of the “nephews” brutalized by Mr. Garvey.

Eventually, Apostle York pushes the people to stone Pastor York, and they kill him. Over the weeks of the battle, black birds known as John Crows, have plagued the village. In the moments after Pastor Bligh dies, doves arrive in huge flocks. They put out the eyes of one man, drive one to fall off a cliff and die, and terrorize the people for hours.

Apostle York has the bridge destroyed, which literally cuts the village off from everyone. They build a fence, and anyone trying to get out is punished. Then, a young man named Clarence discovers that Apostle York has given him syphilis as well. He murders Apostle York. By the second day, people are wondering about Apostle York. When people see another dove, some begin to run away but others remember that the dove is a bird of hope and promise.

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This section contains 568 words
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