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Sonny's blues - Essay Example

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Instructor Date Sonny’s blues The story takes place in Harlem which is depicted as a place full of despair and depression. The narrator is deeply concerned about Sonny who has recently come out of jail. The streets of the city and the people of the area are presented by the author as acquaintances; both for Sonny and the narrator, as the author says 'And I'd known this avenue all my life' (Baldwin, 25)…
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Sonnys blues
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Download file to see previous pages People of the club are generally referred to as being friendly with Sonny; serving to depict the contrast that exists between the inner and the outside world. At the same time, the author takes on a defensive tone when he tries to justify Sonny's drug addiction; "In order to keep from shaking to pieces" (Baldwin, 40). However, the author holds his sympathy in one hand and his honesty in the other; he criticizes the addiction of drugs in bitter words, blaming it to be the cause of pain and misery for Sonny. Baldwin's creation of characters is interesting in the sense that almost all characters have markedly contrasting personalities. Moreover, the characters are not merely characters; they are in fact representations of the classes of our society. Sonny, for example represents the drug affected population of the society. The prominent features associated with this character include the aspects of poverty, being black, various limitations imposed by the society, willingness to escape from his prevailing circumstances, suffering imprisonment and being a prisoner even after being released from the jail which is depicted by words like "caged animal". Likewise, the character of mother not only represents the mothers as an institution but also serves the purpose of explaining the role of all those in the society who actively engage in helping others. Baldwin associates a number of roles that he expects a mother to play; prophetic, saint-like and protector of the family. The writer has used a number of symbols to assist his understanding and to convey a clearer message to the reader. His use of jazz music appears to be associated with negative aspects of life like addiction and drugs. Later in the story, this symbol takes on an entirely new form and serves to establish a connection between the brothers. Another imagery that the writer uses often is ice. This is used to convey negative feelings and emotions that arise in response to unfavorable conditions. The discomfort felt during such circumstances is especially troublesome for the author, which is expressed by the author in words like "it was a special kind of ice. It kept melting, sending trickles of ice water all up and down my veins, but it never got less" (Baldwin, 17). It also contains an element of longevity that is felt during conditions of stress. The writer has also utilized 'light' as a symbol for revelation. On various occasions during the different phases of story, light is used to point to a fact that was previously unrevealed to the readers as well as the characters of the story. Overall, the story revolves around the idea of sufferings and misery that mankind undergoes as a result of ghastly deeds. The author appears to be of the idea that although some elements in the society promote evils, the person who commits a crime is left alone to suffer in the end and this suffering continues till the end of life. The story sharpens our understanding of the human nature by providing clues to the human nature in the form of various symbols and incidents which are relatable to our real lives. A number of facts are hidden from the readers in the start, which are revealed later on in the story; this serves as a means of understanding how life unfolds it secrets with the passage of time. The story also has a religious touch, which perhaps is a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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