Searching For Something, By James Baldwin, Paul 's Case By Willa Cather Essay

Searching For Something, By James Baldwin, Paul 's Case By Willa Cather Essay

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The theme of characters “searching for something” is a common aspect in many short stories, and typically is the major driving force behind the plot. This very theme is evident in Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin, Paul’s Case by Willa Cather, and finally An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce. The protagonists in these stories: Sonny, Paul, and Peyton Farquhar are all on the hunt for an escape from a certain aspect of their lives. For Sonny it is a desire to defy the stereotypes of the typical Harlem hoodlum, Paul’s search entails him shedding all of his ties to the narrow minded middle class around him by fully emerging himself in the art world, and Farquhar 's is to ditch his boring life for something more adventurous. These searches are expertly communicated by Baldwin, Cather, and Bierce through their language and various literary techniques.
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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