Comparison Of Raisin In The Sun And Sonny's Blues By James Baldwin

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A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin both describe the life of African American families in major cities following World War II. In both stories the two families are put at odds against one another because of the environment that surrounds them. In “Sonny’s Blues”, Sonny and his older brother, the narrator, are at odds because Sonny has fallen victim to the chaos of the Harlem streets. In A Raisin in the Sun, the Youngers’ are against one another because the family believes that they can escape the crowded space of their Southside apartment in their own ways. Through both stories the settings cause the characters to react in ways that fit their surroundings. In James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” and Lorraine…show more content…
Even when light is shown on the streets of Harlem, the darkness consumes it. Baldwin describes the physical symbol of light as he tells of Sonny’s Uncle being murdered, he writes, “there was a moon that night, it was bright like day…the minute his brother stepped…into the road, in the moonlight” (Baldwin 101). Light is shown to be just as dangerous as darkness is in this story. If Sonny’s Uncle had not stepped out into the light and tried to escape the darkness, then he would not have been murdered. Darkness is shown to inhabit the light within Sonny’s place of refuge. Clark states in his article “James Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues: Childhood, Light, and Art” that “…the narrator is seated “in a dark corner” ...in contrast the stage is dominated by light” (Clark). Clark shows by this that within the darkness that surrounds Sonny, music is a place of hope for him. Light is shown to effect Sonny in a different way than his Uncle. Light is shown to effect Sonny in a surrounding that would have been a place of comfort for him before his addiction. The narrator states, “…[they] were being careful not to step into that circle of light too suddenly…that if they moved into the light too suddenly… they would perish” (Baldwin 112). This shows how timid Sonny is to move toward the light. The scene also shows how afraid Sonny is of having hope that he…show more content…
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Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. The Norton Introduction to Literature, edited by Kelly J. Mays, W. W. Norton & Company, 2016, pp. 1781-1844.
Harris, Laurie Lanzen. “Overview: A Raisin in the Sun.” 1990, go.galegroup.com/ps/retrieve.do?tabID=T003&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&searchResultsType=MultiTab&searchType=BasicSearchForm¤tPosition=2&docId=GALE%7CH1430001629&docType=Work+overview&sort=RELEVANCE&contentSegment=&prodId=GLS&contentSet=GALE%7CH1430001629&searchId=R5&userGroupName=avlr&inPS=true. Accessed 25 Apr. 2017.
Norton, Sandy Morey. 'To Keep from Shaking to Pieces': Addiction and Bearing Reality in 'Sonny's Blues.'. 2010, go.galegroup.com/ps/retrieve.do?tabID=T001&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&searchResultsType=MultiTab&searchType=BasicSearchForm¤tPosition=1&docId=GALE%7CH1420096909&docType=Critical+essay&sort=RELEVANCE&contentSegment=&prodId=GLS&contentSet=GALE%7CH1420096909&searchId=R1&userGroupName=avlr&inPS=true. Accessed 24 Apr.
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