Analysis Of James Baldwin 's ' Sonny 's Blues '

Decent Essays

In James Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues,” one of the most pertinent themes throughout the story is the contrast and duality of light and darkness. More specifically, the author explores this theme by using light and darkness to explain the characters coming to terms with their realities and the realities of many people who live in their community. The theme also is key in explaining the relationship between Sonny and the narrator. In this paper, I intend to explain the significance of the tension of identifying one’s reality in “Sonny’s Blues,” by exploring the many instances that Baldwin uses light and darkness to explore one’s reality. Light is used in many different ways to explain the characters’ realities throughout the story. One way it is used is to explain the brightness that Sonny had as a child and lost. “I didn’t want to believe that I’d ever see my brother going down, coming to nothing, all that light in his face gone out, in the condition I’d already seen so many others” (61). The narrator is also coming to the reality that the younger brother he knew is no longer the same person because of his addiction. Light explains a pivotal moment in Sonny’s life, in which he realizes he lost part of himself to his addiction. “But now I just feel like a man who’s been trying to climb up out of some deep, real deep and funky hole and just saw the sun up there, outside, I got to get outside” (64). Sonny is also trying to get back some of that light he once had and

Get Access