One of the first examples of the underlying racism in the story is as simple as just rereading and processing what some of the characters are saying and looking at it in a deeper sense. For instance, the narrator’s mother is telling the narrator about how his uncle was run down by a group of white men in a car and killed. After she tells this story she tells her son to watch over his own brother because, “The world ain’t changed.” Now, this could mean that she just wants the eldest brother to keep an eye on his younger sibling because she is sick and doesn’t want Sonny to get hurt or to get into trouble. Another interpretation, though, could be that she’s trying to explain that while, yes, times may be more modern now but there are still plenty of people in the world who will look down on them and hate them because of the color of their skin and she wants the narrator to be aware of this matter and keep a close watch on Sonny so he does not wind up like their uncle. This is one of the more obvious examples that show how rampant racism is in the time this story takes place, whilst the others may not seem as “in your face”.
Another possible detail in the story that would lead someone to see the ...
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...te man he saw was the man that killed his brother”. This line in itself seems pretty significant in trying to explain that the killing of the father’s brother was an act of racism, because if it had not been the father would not have been so weary of white men.
“Sonny’s Blues” is a very complex, multifaceted story with a bunch of different themes that make it up but the theme of racism is definitely one that should not be ignored. With characters in the story such as his mother, father, and even the narrator himself talking about racism during flashbacks and in the way the setting is described, it is important to really look between the lines to recognize this sort of hidden theme within the narrative. Once you dig a little deeper and reread the story with this new view on it, it may help you see and understand the characters and their plights a little bit better.
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