In this essay, I will discuss how poverty, drugs, prisons and death contribute to the inescapable boundaries of suffering. The narrator—who is not named—begins the story by finding out his brother Sonny, was arrested “in a raid on an apartment downtown, for peddling and using heroin” (Baldwin 1969). Not wanting to believe it because Sonny had “always been a good boy” (Baldwin 1969), yet, deep down in his soul he was sure the city of Harlem had a firm grasp on Sonny’s life from an early age. As the narrator states “I was sure that the first time
The narrator, who has escaped the dangers of Harlem’s streets to become a solid family man and a mathematics teacher in Harlem high school, tells the tale of his younger brother Sonny, a jazz/ blues musician trapped in heroin addiction” (Tackarch 112). The story of Sonny is about redemption after being caught up with drugs and imprisonment and reconnecting with his older brother. Other reference to the bible is the narrator’s daughter’s name Grace, both Tackach, an author of the Renascence, and Caitlin Stone, an author of the Explicator, both had stated evidence to this claim, “…Baldwin chooses it specifically because of what it means…Grace, in the bible, stands for the unmerited favor of god. It is the extension of mercy” (Stone 252). Grace in the story is a two-year-old girl which Baldwin states as a “beautiful little girl”
Geoffrey Canada does an excellent job of bringing his readers to the streets of the South Bronx and making them understand the culture and code of growing up in a poor, New York City neighborhood in the ‘50s and ‘60s. In his book, Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun, Canada details, through his own childhood experiences, the progression of violence in poverty plagued neighborhoods across America over the last 50 years. From learning to be “brave” by being forced to fight his best friend on a sidewalk at six-years-old, to staring down an enraged, knife wielding, “outsider” with nothing to defend himself but nerve, Canada explains the nightmare of fear that tens of thousands of children live through every day growing up in poor neighborhoods. The book
Introduction First published in 1957, Sonny’s Blues written by James Baldwin is a prose of two brothers. Sonny, the younger one, is a rebellious jazz musician who turns out to be a drug abuser, while the narrator, the elder brother, is a conservative mathematics teacher in Harlem. He, the narrator, refuses to understand Sonny whose life is distorted by imprisonment. In this way, Baldwin developed the major topic of music, the cornerstone of African American culture, alongside with the themes of brotherhood and salvation. How music develops the plot of the story Music is a leitmotif in Sonny’s Blues, which reflects and creates a new structure of music and drama (Bribitzer-Stull, 2015).
In Walter Mosley 's fictional short story, "Equal Opportunity" (1995), he describes employment discrimination through the character of Socrates Fortlow, an African American ex-convict attempting to find employment. Socrates lives in an abandoned building in Los Angeles neighborhood called Watts. He has been out of “prison eight years, fifty-eight years old, and ready to start life over again,” (Mosley 1). Socrates faces several conflicts, attempting to gain employment, because of his (1) age, (2) race, and (3) where he lives. He has to travel far to look for a job because everyone on his side of town, especially, Crenshaw and Washington, both store owners in Watts, knew that he collected bottles and cans for money and “they would not hire
Boyz in the Hood, a film written and directed by John Singleton presents a look into the lives of three young males living the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles. The film focuses on the struggles which beset these young men as they try to build a life for themselves in this hostile environment. Presented are themes of family, racial discrimination violence among several others. However, what stands out is the role of the decent daddy played the character, Furious Styles. Though he still comes out at a decent daddy when evaluated based on the decent daddy characters in Elijah Anderson’s, Code of the street: Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City, he falls short in certain respects.
Walter Dean Myers novel Hoops is about a young black boy, Lonnie, who dreams of becoming a professional basketball player, "My game is my fame, and I knew it was together" (2). Coming from a broken home and living in a bad neighborhood, Lonnie sees that becoming a basketball player could be his escape from Harlem. Lonnie has a bad relationship with his mother to the point where he doesn't even sleep in her house sometimes. Instead he sleeps in the hotel he works at. While at the hotel one day Lonnie sees across the street that the gas station was being rob, taking this as an advantage Lonnie runs across the street and steals a case of alcohol planning to sell it.
The short story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin is about a young man whom is struggling in life. The narrator, who is unnamed throughout the story, and Sonny’s older brother tells the readers in depth about his brothers battle. In the late 1900s during poverty and systematic oppression, many African Americans were subjected to one specific area in modern day known as Harlem. Not only is story about discrimination African Americans faced, it is about two brothers gaining a better understanding on each others lives. Baldwin demonstrates that acceptance over a family member’s decisions can strengthen the bond between two estranged brothers.
In this essay, Hip Hop Stole My Black Boy by Kiese Laymon, is a story about two boys whose dreams was to become a hip hop artist. Even though their parents did not like the idea. Laymon, says that "But as hip hop moved from the boroughs to Compton in late 80's and early 90's, daring west coast soldiers, west coast sensibilities and west of us rappers seemed more in line with our reality" (Laymon 226). I think he was referring to the two boys, because they did not like the idea of living their home town and go to another city at first, but when they move from one city to another they did enjoy it after all. The word "Cipher" was mentioned several times in this essay.
This play showcases a singer songwriter trying to make a name for herself, but soon realizes her band is jeopardizing her chances of hitting it big. This play was nominated twice and won the 1985 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play. The third play, in chronological order by release date, is “Fences”, released in 1987, which takes place in the 1950’s. This play is about an African American man named Troy, who was a stellar baseball player in his youth, but is now retired and is struggling to pay the bills and support his family. He becomes a garbage man, but wonders why he can’t be a truck driver, and determines it has something to do with race.
The U.S. has been influenced by different cultures, trends, and movements. For instance, protest movements and hip hop have been used by African Americans as an avenue to tackle social injustices and other issues. South central L.A. chief rapper of the group N.W.A (Nig*** with Attitude), Ice Cube, seems to have firsthand experience about the hardships of the ghettos. According to the rapper, if one sits calmly at night, he or she is more likely to hear nothing but gunfire, which he has heard so much in his neighborhood (1). At night helicopters are always flying with their spotlight on, looking for someone.
In the article “Hip-Hop Planet” by James McBride he explains first about the nightmare he has of his daughter coming home with a young reckless rapper guy with tattoos and golden teeth and McBride for a moment is taken back to the past when he was young and it comes to thought that he was in this young wanna be rappers shoes. As he goes on with life he contemplates of how his rap days are over but in time he comes to realize that he himself will still be surrounded with the cool beat sound of one rapper explaining his everyday hard life. James first time hearing hip-hop was at a party, and it escalated when one of James friend slapped a big guy who crashed the party followed by two other friends and what was strange was these guys differed
Emmett Till was a loving, fun fourteen year old boy who grew up on the Southside of Chicago. During 1955, classrooms were segregated yet Till found a way to cope with the changes that was happening in the world. Looking forward to a visit with his cousins, Emmett was ecstatic and was not prepared for the level of segregation that would occur in Money, Mississippi when he arrived. Emmett was a big prankster, but his mother reminded him of his race and the differences that it caused. When Till arrived in Money, he joined in with his family and visited a local neighborhood store for a quick beverage.
Buck is about the life of an inner city Philadelphia young black male who faced many obstacles and this young boy was able to overcome his circumstances. Malo’s mother was in and out of the mental hospital, his brother Uzi was in and out of prison, and his father was not really around. Malo’s life by design was meant to be cut short, being overran with drugs, gangs, and violence. Buck’s theme of survival in impossible circumstances represents the struggle of black teens in America because, the book take place in the inner city of Philadelphia, there are several mentions of drug abuse amongst those in the community, and prominent characters of young Malo’s life are
In Empire, the protagonist is Luscious Lyon. He is a young black male, who was raised in the streets of Philly. Because Luscious grew up in this setting, he trained himself up to be a well-respected figure on the block. Everyone who is familiar with Luscious, rarely attempts to cross him, because of his actions and raw evidence that exhibit “Mr. Lyon doesn’t play nice.” For instance, when Luscious’ intuition told him a man named Bunkie, who is his wife’s cousin, could possibly reveal his secret to the world; he took matters into his own hands with no remorse.