Black, Blues, and Jazz

956 Words4 Pages
Society is made up of individuals – individuals with passions, dreams, fears, and regrets. The society where Sonny existed was hell to say the very least. They lived in the shadow of two wars: one where both brothers served for their country and the one that each man must fight from within. Both brothers survived the Second World War but no one knows the outcome of the wars that rage inside. The Second World War caused people grief and suffering but I think that both brothers experienced more pain with their internal conflicts. And they were mere reflections of what was happening at every urban black American house hold. Sonny summed up what was happening in his life and in their society when he partly agreed with his brother when he said; "No, there's no way not to suffer.” (Baldwin in O’Daniel) The society where most of the blacks came from were more than harsh to say the least and people desperately wanted to escape. There were many aspects of urban Black American society that were mirrored with the experiences narrated in “Sonny’s Blues”. The examination of such parallels will give us insight to the pain experienced by these people and let us see how societies can shape an individual’s life (Baldwin in O’Daniel) "I ain't learning nothing in school… even when I go." A prohibitive and negative society like that described in Baldwin’s narrative is a hard place for young people to grow up in. Sonny did see the value of education but it was not what he needed. The whole of America went into recession after World War 2 and even during the war, life in general was hard. The Blacks had more dignity and freedom, yes, but they were still discriminated against as reflected by their mother’s words, This car was full of white men. Th... ... middle of paper ... ... are products of their society. At that time every black American lived in constant fear and suffering. There were a lot of things that were unknown and they are suffocated by the life and filth that surrounds them. Lack of education and basic protective services for women and children exacerbates the problem. And add to that the heavy burden of drug addiction and abuse. The society they were born in shaped how they view their lives and the options that they had. If urban black American communities continued to be such a place, then everyone, not only the blacks would be hopeless and tremble for the future (Baldwin in O’Daniel). Works Cited O’Daniel, Therman B., ed. James Baldwin: A Critical Evaluation. Washington, D.C.: Howard UP, 1977 MacMillan, Margaret. Rebuilding the world after the Second World War. The Guardian. 11 September 2009. Web. 11 November 2013
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