This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Presence Of Darkness In James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues

814 words - 3 pages

The Presence of Darkness in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues

In the story Sonny's Blues the author, James Baldwin, uses the image of darkness quite frequently. He uses it first when the older brother (main character) talks about his younger brother Sonny. He says that when Sonny was younger his face was bright and open. He said that he didn't want to believe that he would ever see his "brother going down, coming to nothing, all that light in his face gone out." Meaning he had gone from good (clean and innocent) to bad ( giving into drugs like so many of the other young people).

The older brother then goes on to talk about his students and how they had limited possibilities stating that "all they really knew were two darknesses, the darkness of their lives, which was know closing in on them, and the darkness of the movies, which had blinded them to that other darkness, and in which they now vindictively dreamed, at once more together than they were at any time and more alone." He believes that there is little opportunity for these kids to get out of the pretty much doomed future they have with drug addiction and crime being what it is in the city. There was one boy whistling through the "harsh, bright air," while the other boys were laughing in their unforgiving way. The brightness of this boys whistling could symbolise that some of them do get out and make something of themselves ( bright futures).

The author then uses darkness to describe the faces of the adults on Sunday evenings after dinner when everyone is relaxing with their own thought's. "For a moment nobody's talking but every face looks darkening, like the sky outside...The silence, the darkness coming and the darkness in the faces frighten the child obscurely." The child could be seeing the darkness and realising, that the comfort and security they get from their parents won't be there forever and they will eventually loose that comfort altogether when their parents die. When the old folks remember that the children are in the room feeling what the adults are thinking they turn on the lights to get back to normal but with this "the child is filled with darkness. He knows that every time this happens he's moved just a...

Find Another Essay On The Presence of Darkness in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues

Mending the Relationship of Two Brothers in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues

1270 words - 5 pages Mending the Relationship of Two Brothers in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues According to Liukkonen, James Baldwin is well known for his "novels on sexual and personal identity, and sharp essays on civil-rights struggle in the United States." "Sonny's Blues" is no exception to this. The story takes place in Harlem, New York in the 1950's and tells of the relationship between two brothers. The older brother, who is the narrator and a

Suffering and Surviving in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues

1596 words - 6 pages Suffering and Surviving in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues In "Sonny's Blues" James Baldwin presents an intergenerational portrait of suffering and survival within the sphere of black community and family. The family dynamic in this story strongly impacts how characters respond to their own pain and that of their family members. Examining the central characters, Mama, the older brother, and Sonny, reveals that each assumes or

Learning to Listen in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues

684 words - 3 pages Learning to Listen in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues", the verb, to listen, is employed many times in varying contexts. This theme is developed throughout the story as the narrator learns to listen more closely to the aural stimuli (or sounds) which enter his ears. In order to understand the narrator's heightened degree of perception as it unfolds in "Sonny's Blues", it is necessary to begin with a

Music in Society according to James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues"

1260 words - 5 pages In modern society, music uses many forms. Some use music for praising the Lord, and others use music as something that one can get down to. But mainly, people use music as an expression of who they are as a person; whether it be by what one plays or what one listens to, music is a major factor in determining who one is and their personality. In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues," all of these examples are there. Music plays a major role in his

Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis and James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues

2271 words - 10 pages opposites in a sense that one follows his family and the other does not. But, both characters were forced into difficult situations and both have experienced some sort of sacrifice. Works Cited Mendoza, Ramon G. The Human Vermin: Kafka's Metaphor for Extreme Alienation. N.p.: Salem Press, n.d. Literary Reference Database. Web. 23 Mar. 2014. Murray, Donald C. James Baldwin's 'Sonny's Blues': Complicated and Simple. N.p.: Newberry College, n.d. Literary Reference Database. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.

The Light and Darkness of Suffering Depicted in Sonny's Blues

2439 words - 10 pages and darkness of suffering determines whether one is consumed by it, or embraces it in order to “survive.” Viewing a collection of these motifs, James Baldwin’s unique perspective on suffering as a crucial component of human development becomes apparent. It is through his compassionate portrayal of life’s inescapable hardships that one finds the ability to connect with humankind’s general pool of hardship. James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” makes

Themes in Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin

1060 words - 4 pages for white people. I feel this is Baldwin's way of demonstrating to his readers that black America is justified in feeing the pain, suffering and hate brought about by a racist white world. Another theme that James Baldwin brings out in "Sonny's Blues" is the theme of irony. Irony is shown from the start to the end of this story through the direction of lifestyle each brother chose to lead. Isn't it ironic that two brothers brought up

Analysis of 'Sonny's Blues' by James Baldwin

1367 words - 5 pages Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin "Sonny's Blues", a story written by James Baldwin, takes place in Harlem, New York in the 1960's. The authors' purpose wants the reader to realize the experiences that the author experienced. The story is about the past and present lives of two brothers. It is told in first person point of view by Sonny's brother (a teacher), whose name was never mentioned. The teacher comes to terms with his African American roots

Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin

2043 words - 8 pages Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin A captivating tale of a relationship between two troubling brothers in Harlem, "Sonny's Blues" is told from the perception of Sonny's brother, whose name is never mentioned. Baldwin's choice of Sonny's brother as a narrator is what makes "Sonny's Blues" significant in terms of illustrating the relationship and emotional complications of Sonny and his brother. The significance of "Sonny's Blues" lies in the way

Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin

494 words - 2 pages Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin "Sonny's Blues" is a story about two brothers, their past, and how their differences came between them. They were apart for several years while Sonny was in jail, but once he got out they had a chance to mend their pasts. "Sonny's Blues" is a well written story that teaches a lesson that has value in every day life. The tone is melancholy and reminiscent. The brother is remembering the past and reflection on

Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin

1100 words - 4 pages "Sonny's Blues" If you were not able to talk to anyone, nor did people want to listen to what you have to say, would that affect you? In the short story, "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin, Baldwin writes about two brothers, Sonny and the narrator, who lose communication between one another because Sonny goes to prison. The narrator, having to make a promise to their mother before her death, was to take care and watch over his young brother

Similar Essays

The Inevitability Of Suffering In James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues

874 words - 3 pages The Inevitability of Suffering in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues Everyone likes to feel safe. We try to protect ourselves and those we love, to make them feel safe as well. The idea conveyed about safety in James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" is that there is no such thing. The narrator of this story had thought that his brother Sonny was safe. Or at least, that was what he had made himself believe. "I told myself that Sonny was wild, but

Symbolism In James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues

1244 words - 5 pages Symbolism in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues Missing Works Cited Several passages found throughout "Sonny's Blues" indicate that as a whole, the neighborhood of Harlem is in the turmoil of a battle between good and evil. The narrator describes Sonny's close encounters with the evil manifested in drugs and crime, as well as his assertive attempts at distancing himself from the darker side. The streets and communities of Harlem are described as

James Baldwin's Story Sonny's Blues Essay

1264 words - 5 pages James Baldwin's Story Sonny's Blues James Baldwin?s story ?Sonny?s Blues? is a deep and reflexive composition. Baldwin uses the life of two brothers to establish parallelism of personal struggle with society, and at the same time implies a psychological process of one brother leaving his socially ingrained prejudices to understand and accept the other's flaws. The story is narrated by Sonny?s older brother whom remained unnamed the

Sonny's Heroic Journey In James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues

2958 words - 12 pages The theme of "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin focuses on whether a person should be conventional in making decisions for their life, or if they should follow their heart and do what is right for them. A person begins with strengths, many of which they lose along the way. At some point along their heroic journey a person may regain their strengths and develop new ones. Each phase of this journey will have an effect on them and others around