The Role Of Darkness In Sonny's Blues

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What is one to do when ones kin is the obstacle in finding ones true identity? In “Sonny’s Blues,” the two main characters, Sonny and his brother, the narrator, grow up facing many perilous customs in the ghetto of Harlem, ultimately changing them, and eventually causes the two brothers to head towards different paths in life, allowing conflict to emerge between them. Sonny chases towards a life filled with jazz and heroine, while his brother turns to a more luxurious life with a respectable teaching position. The eldest brother, the narrator, has dubiousness over Sonny’s way of life, worrying that this will be the origin of him falling into a life emerged in darkness. However, towards the end of the short story, the narrator comes to the conclusion that it was he who was in the darkness, in which Sonny helps him escape for a brief moment. In James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues," the symbolic motif of light and darkness illustrates the painful nature of reality the characters face and the power gained in order to overcome it, thus thickening the plot and portraying the struggle between the two brothers. During 1940s through 1950s, a wave of immigration moved thousands of African Americans to Harlem, located in the northern section of New York, in order to escape the racial discrimination of their past down south, forming their own society. However, they could not…show more content…
The ignorant children and the racial injustice cause darkness to envelope throughout the community of Harlem ghetto. Additionally, the characters’s youth causes Sonny and the narrator to leave their small society, chasing two different life styles. Along with their calamitous past, the realization of their pain causes Sonny and the narrator to become free of the darkness holding them back. All in all, the conflicts between the two brothers epitomize the symbolic motif of light and
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