Sonny's Blues Theme Analysis

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In James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues,” the theme of imprisonment and escape is illustrated, as Sonny and his brother (the narrator) are trapped both physically and emotionally. Although much of the imprisonment illustrated in the story is abstract, “Sonny’s Blues” begins with the narrator reading in the newspaper about his younger brother, Sonny, being incarcerated for the sale of heroin. Sonny is physically imprisoned in jail and by drug addiction. Being in prison is a feeling that Sonny hates. The physical imprisonment of Sonny is symbolic to the rest of the story as it represents another major theme; the pain, suffering, and struggles black males faced in Harlem in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The narrator is imprisoned in ways that aren’t physical,
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