Throughout one’s life, one tends to adapt to the traditions of their family, and gain a significant bond with their loved ones, including their siblings. However, that connection a person gains can either be diminished or forgotten due to a sense of different mindsets between family members. The two stories “The Rich Brother” by Tobias Wolff and “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin indicate that sibling rivalry occurs when each member does not understand or acknowledge their sibling’s perspective, and this builds a wall barrier between the siblings. The short story, “The Rich Brother” accounts the journey of two brothers with great different personalities. After Donald, the younger naive religious brother, is kicked out of a communal farm, Pete, the older wealthier brother, goes to pick him up. Pete feels that Donald is too carefree, and that he always has to help him out of his mistakes. The tensions between these siblings are evident--they both feel that they need to prove themselves to each other; they need to provide evidence of their “prosperity” (Wolff 324). Pete more than Donald tends to always try to impress others, such as buying expressive items. He, unlike …show more content…
After hearing that his younger brother, Sonny, has been put in jail due to drug use, he remembers his childhood, and how they both never did really get along. Both Sonny and the narrator feel a sense of “darkness outside”, and this “darkness” is what creates the miscommunication between the brothers (Baldwin 338). Sonny changed his normality due to not being noticed during his childhood, and the drastic change causes the older brother to feel uncomfortable seeing his brother, because Sonny told him that “he was dead as far as [he] was concerned” (351). Their struggles caused them to lose contact, and to slowly build that invisible barrier between their
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In Tobias Wolff’s story, “The Rich Brother,” the author depicts the relationship of two opposite brothers. While one brother, Pete, is seemingly content with his financial prosperity and wealthy lifestyle, the other, Donald, finds no comfort in such things. As Pete struggles to tolerate Donald’s outlook on life, Donald struggles to find his place in the world spiritually while avoiding concerning himself with the financial aspect of it. For some this spiritual sense of completion Donald seeks is more valuable to them than any financial one, while others, like Pete, find comfort in the life they live through material wealth. Although Pete’s lifestyle lacks a spiritual aspect, he is the “richer” brother since he has obtained the way of life he desired to have the most, not due to the fact that this desired lifestyle stems from much physical wealth.
Tobian Wolff’s, “The Rich Brother” is a short story about two brothers, Pete and Donald, are complete opposites of each other. Pete is the more established brother he is married with two daughters, owns a century 21 franchise, a sailboat, a house, and some friends. Donald, on the other hand is portrayed throughout the story as more of a disappointment when being compared to his brother. Donald was still single, lived alone, painted houses whenever he could find a job, and financially dependent on his older brother Pete. In short, as the book put it, “Pete prospered and Donald did not prosper”(654).
Competition is something that the American society thrives on. People will compete to be better physically, mentally, and financially. This competition is often seen between siblings. In “The Rich Brothe”r by Tobias Wolff two brothers named Pete and Donald partake in sibling rivalry. The dispute between the two ultimately derives from Petes success and Donalds lack of it in Petes eyes.
When one is described as “rich,” he or she is assumed to exhibit many distinctive qualities: a plethora of wealth, a beautiful home, a luxurious car, and in most cases a tendency to spend his or her wealth on personal possessions. Tobias Wolff’s short story, “The Rich Brother,” boldly presents the aforementioned word in the title of the poem, displaying it to readers before they even begin to read the story. The story recounts the experiences of two brothers, and readers could at first conclude that either brother is the “rich” brother; however, this word can undertake either a positive connotation or a negative connotation, depending on the perspective. While readers might at first describe Donald as "rich" due to his wealth in generosity,
At first glance, the reader can assume the “rich brother” is referring to Pete and the amount of money he has acquired throughout the years. Upon further analysis, however, the reader can understand the actual meaning of “rich” to be one’s fulfillment in life’s purpose. Pete has accepted what life has to offer him, even if it is shallow
The relationship between brothers can vary from them hating each other to having an inseparable bond. There’s a common saying that no matter what happens, one is always responsible for the members in their family. The two stories “Sonny’s Blues”, by James Baldwin, and “The Rich Brother”, by Tobias Wolff include the lives of two adult brothers, and incorporate this idea in some way. A suggestion of how siblings are supposed to act is that they should support each other, but also get into occasional bickers, eventually growing out of them once they reach adulthood. Grudges that siblings can hold as children are little things such as which child is liked more by their parents, who is better at video games, and other things that shouldn’t matter once they reach adulthood.
The lives of Sonny and Mabel are completely different, they were raised in completely different ways and in completely different places. “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin is about the life of a young man who is struggling with drug addiction; he has faced many challenges in his life. One of the many challenges he faces is what connects him to the main character of “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter”; both Mabel and Sonny experienced losing both their mother and their father while they were still fairly young. “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” by D.H. Lawrence is based on a young woman struggling to deal with the loss of her mother and father, she desires the love and affection of a man. Mabel’s mental state differs from Sonny’s who is very angry with the life he was given.
In contrast, the narrator internalizes his feelings by repressing them as his father did after his brother passed away. As it was the relationship of their father and uncle, Sonny and his brother grew up in Harlem, a district replete with hopelessness and poverty. Yet each individual reacts to his environment in unusual ways. On the one hand, the narrator distances himself from his community in Harlem, including his brother Sonny. The narrator may love his brother but is in general judgmental of the direction of Sonny's life struggles and decisions.
There are many interpretations when it comes to the word rich. One could be rich in intellect or possibly rich in loving others. Authors often use these different definitions to make a reader think more when reading a story. When reading the title of the story, "The Rich Brother,” many readers will first assume that Pete is the rich brother because of his monetary wealth; conversely, a deeper analyzation of the story reveals that Donald is the rich brother because of the author’s non-stereotypical interpretation of the word “rich.” In the first paragraph, the author tells the reader of Pete’s monetary wealth when it says he “worked hard and made a lot of money.”
In James Baldwin's short story, Sonny’s Blues, the reader should understand and visualize the historical context in order to understand the world being presented. The reader has to comprehend the harsh life of a male African-American who struggles with his dreams and drug addiction sometime around early 1957. I will discuss Baldwin's writing style, the life/value of an african american's life during this time, and the relationship between Sonny and his brother. Baldwin’s short story illustrates the hardships a person faces while searching for themselves in a world full of people or obstacles that stand in their way. Some of these obstacles are self inflicted, present from the beginning of their existence or appear as though they are random.
Everyone needs rescuing sometime in life? The narrator in “Sonny’s Blues” struggles with his own identity and finding himself. He has a sense of insecurity and conformity to escape his past and from where he comes. The narrator finds himself focusing on his brother’s mistakes in life when in reality; he is questioning his inner insecurities. The narrator believes he must rescue his brother but realizes first he must find rescue himself.
Baldwin uses the plot line to show the effects of how wanting power or control can destroy ones relationship. The narrator in the story reads an article about his brother, Sonny, who has gotten into trouble with drugs. He thinks back to when Sonny and himself were growing up. His mother told him a story about his father and made him promise to never “let [Sonny] fall…no matter how evil you gets with him” (Baldwin 442).
When one considers the word rich, he or she assumes money. Being rich means not only being monetarily wealthy, but also wealthy in happiness and love. In Tobias Wolff’s short story, “The Rich Brother,” there are two brothers who live in separate realities with different versions of rich. They reconnect after the youngest brother, Donald, complicates part of his reality. Both brothers are content with their lives and wish not to modify any part.
Donald, through his religious and generous nature, obtains a sense of fulfillment. As it is clearly stated in “The Rich Brother,” Donald believes that he has a “purpose in life” while Pete is not aware of his (328). Both Donald and Pete are considered “rich,” but the two brothers hold different definitions of the word. Pete is regarded as “rich” because he has great deal of money, and Donald is considered to be rich because of his kind, generous, and religious nature. As one can conclude from Donald and Pete’s contrasting personalities, Donald finds a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and wholeness, while Pete cannot.
In fiction, the narrator controls how the audience connects to and perceives the various characters in a story. A good author can manipulate the narration to connect the audience to certain characters and deepen the reader’s understanding of their conflicts. In “Previous Condition” and “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin illustrates themes of loneliness and isolation in the pursuit of finding a space that feels like home. Although this theme is clear in both stories, Baldwin is able to portray it very differently in each story through the relationship he allows the reader to the characters struggling with these feelings. While “Previous Condition” provides a more intimate relationship to the narrator, “Sonny’s Blues” is able to deliver an additional level of understanding by telling the story through Sonny’s brother, therefore disconnecting the reader in a way that forces him or her to share the characters’ feelings of isolation and confusion.