Comparing The Rich Brother And Sonny's Blues By James Baldwin

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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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