Symbolism In The Birthmark And Sonny's Blues Essay

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Symbolism in “The Birthmark” and “Sonny’s Blues” Authors often create symbols, with meanings unknown to the characters of the story, that drive conflict and ultimately intrigues readers, making them yearn to know what happens next. No matter when the work was written, these symbols often add much-needed depth to any story and spark actions a reader may not have seen coming. The short story “The Birthmark was written and published by Nathaniel Hawthorne in March 1843. The short story "Sonny’s Blues” was written and published by James Baldwin in 1957. Even though “The Birthmark” written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “Sonny’s Blues” written by James Baldwin were manifested in two different centuries, both short stories use symbolism to add depth…show more content…
In the story “Sonny’s Blues”, James Baldwin includes less obvious and more complex symbols than Hawthorne, which represent something greater. In Sonny’s Blues, readers learn the story of two conflicting brothers and their struggles to understand each other. The story begins with an unnamed narrator who reads in the paper that his brother Sonny has just been arrested for selling and using heroin. Reading this disbelief in the paper confirms his judgment that the darkness within the Harlem streets consumes the youth, who have no hope of making it into the light and prospering. He states, “I didn 't want to believe that I 'd ever see my brother going down, coming to nothing, all that light in his face gone out, in the condition I 'd already seen so many others. Yet it had happened and here I was, talking about algebra to a lot of boys who might, every one of them for all I knew, be popping off needles every time they went to the head. Maybe it did more for them than algebra could” (Baldwin, 96). This supports the fact that Baldwin uses darkness within the story to symbolize the tragedy and suffering experienced by African Americans in the 1900s. Often, the darkness of Harlem consumed African Americans by means of physical, political and social
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