Sonny's Blues Essay

Sonny's Blues Essay

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James Baldwin's short story, "Sonny's Blues", tells the tale of two brothers, as they come to an understanding of each other. The use of imagery and figurative language can help the reader grasp a deeper meaning of what the narrator is focusing on. In "Sonny's Blues", the predominant imageries throughout the narrative are the reoccurring contrasting images of light and darkness, symbolizing hope and despair.

Children filled with hope, feel that they can engage in any profession they want and are naive to the despair of their lives. One of the first uses of light and darkness imagery is in the following quote, describing how the movies shine hope upon the lives of these children. "All they knew were two darknesses, the darkness of their lives, which was now closing in on them, and the darkness of the movies, which had blinded them to that other darkness, and in which they now, vindictively, dreamed, at once more together than they were at any other time, and more alone" (Baldwin 485). The narrator looks at the young students, instantly he remembers his brother, Sonny, and himself when they were young. He recalls that they were just liked those children on the school ground. The only speck of hope that these students have to clutch onto is the movies. The full awareness of the suffering of their lives at such a ripe age could be dangerous and painful. The "movies" represented the light in their lives. It serves as a dream that they aspire to achieve and gives the children the drive for success as well as hope. The movies provided an escape that they can never seize in reality but they imagine that they can have it. Like the characters in the movies, the children feel that they too can accomplish anything they want. Th...


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...ure. In order for him to follow his dreams, he has to get out of jail and free him self from the "hole." Sonny's light at the end of the "hole" was his music and in his music held his salvation. His self-determination was emphasize when he uttered, "I got to get out" because there was still a chance for him to find salvation. At this point in the short story, Sonny arrived at the conclusion that he has to make a drastic change in his life to follow the light at the end of the "hole" and avoid temptations.

Life is filled with different possibilities and as people develop, it is up to them to pursue their goals and fight the distractions that might injure their dreams. Sonny's suffering made him stronger and inspired him to acquire a better life style. His music was his savior. With the darkness surrounding Sonny, his music shined through and redeemed him.

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