Today, Harlem has become a hub of hipsters wearing thick rimmed eye-glasses and sipping on iced mocha pumpkin spice frappuccinos. However, once upon a time, prior to this gentrification, Harlem was predominantly an African American area where the streets were overflowing with crack cocaine from the Crips and blood from the Bloods. This Harlem is the Harlem that Sonny knew. This Harlem disintegrated the moral fiber of the youth that lived there, as proven in a study conducted in Harlem over the course of fifteen years. The study concluded that, “residence in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods may influence psychological functioning and drug use through a number of mechanisms: an increase in a physiologic stress response, more opportunities to obtain drugs, and peer drug use” (Brook, et al. 357). Therefore, it is possible to ascertain, that just by growing up in such...
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...ree men, all on different quests for enlightenment from their current situations. For Sonny, from Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin, it was a mission to escape Harlem and the malevolent atmosphere that accompanies it, which resulted in his finding his true passion of music. Then there was Paul from Paul’s Case by Willa Cather, who desired to abandon his middle-class lifestyle plagued by homosexual induced depression and alienation, to immerse himself in the arts, but was inevitably struck by both a train and more symbolically, life. Finally, there was Peyton Farquhar of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce, who went of in search of purpose and adventure and fantasized about a more exciting life until the moment he died. Regardless, if these men followed the correct course of action in the searches to escape, they technically all succeeded in doing so.
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