Light and Dark in the Book Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin Essay

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In James Baldwin’s short story, “Sonny’s Blues” there is a constant contrast between light and dark. Baldwin uses this theme to highlight the struggles that the Narrator and his younger brother, Sonny, both face. Light represents all of the positive aspects of life. Meanwhile, the darkness represents the constant struggle that threatens the characters in the story. Light and dark has a presence in both characters. The narrator lives his life in the “light”. He is a teacher, middleclass man, a man who has a wife and family. For the narrator, the darkness is his constant reflections on his brother, and his sense of guilt or blame for being the reason why Sonny turned to a life of drugs. The darkness represents Sonny in a way. He is a …show more content…
In James Baldwin’s short story, “Sonny’s Blues” there is a constant contrast between light and dark. Baldwin uses this theme to highlight the struggles that the Narrator and his younger brother, Sonny, both face. Light represents all of the positive aspects of life. Meanwhile, the darkness represents the constant struggle that threatens the characters in the story. Light and dark has a presence in both characters. The narrator lives his life in the “light”. He is a teacher, middleclass man, a man who has a wife and family. For the narrator, the darkness is his constant reflections on his brother, and his sense of guilt or blame for being the reason why Sonny turned to a life of drugs. The darkness represents Sonny in a way. He is a recovering drug addict that just finished serving time in prison. When he was released from prison his brother was there to meet him. He finds his reemergence into the world through his love for music. For Sonny, music is his guiding light.
From the beginning, the narrator introduces the imagery of light and dark that will come to be the dominating theme of the story. In the first scene, the narrator is contemplating Sonny's fate in the dark subway. The "swinging lights of the subway car" allow him to read about Sonny's arrest, while the "darkness roared outside" (91). While seemingly just a very illustrative description, it soon becomes obvious that the use of the premises of light and dark in the story are the most significant in the story
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