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"Sonny's Blues" By James Baldwin: Learning To Accept The Past

515 words - 2 pages

How do sonny & his brother try to escape the past? Is sonny's brother able to accept the past?"Sonny's Blues": Learning To Accept The PastWhat is the past? Webster's Dictionary defines the past as a person's history or background. The experiences of the past help make people who they are. It is the sorrows and joys, the losses and the victories of the past that shape and mold people into what they become. The past can affect someone for the rest of his life. James Baldwin's story "Sonny's Blues" is a story about two brothers who grew up in the ghetto of Harlem. As adults they both try to find themselves and escape their past in Harlem. Sonny's brother tries making a better life for himself. He uses his family and his success as a schoolteacher as a way of overcoming his childhood. On the other hand, Sonny uses his drug addiction and his love of music as means of escape from the past. The idea of the story is that no matter how hard they try to escape the past, they will never be able to. The past is a part of them, and until they learn to accept that fact, they will never truly know how it feels to be free."One of the most important messages in this story is the description of Harlem'sstultifying environment, a place where children are 'smothered'. 'Some escaped the trap,most didn't. Those who got out always left something of themselves behind, as animalsamputate a leg and leave it in the trap' (Baldwin p.109). The implicit assumption here isthat childhood is a holistic state, whereas...

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