Only Light Can Drive Out The Darkness. Despite The Diligent

1760 WordsFeb 2, 20178 Pages
Only Light can Drive out the Darkness Despite the diligent efforts for absolute racial equality that were made nearly 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was established, equal opportunity still seemed to be impractical longing. The movements for African American civil rights took place in the mid 1950s; however, change did not occur promptly with the efforts. African Americans continued to suffer and bear hardships throughout the civil rights era. Author James Baldwin’ reveals these adversities in his short story “Sonny’s Blues”. Baldwin wanted to allow insight into the oppression African Americans faced in the 1950s Harlem, New York and essentially the motivation to escape from it. Slavery was outlawed through the…show more content…
Perhaps he had managed to escape mentally, but not physically. He was still living in the nearly identical neighborhood “encircled by disaster” (Baldwin 6). He explains that “Some escaped the trap, most didn 't. Those who got out always left something of themselves behind, as some animals amputate a leg and leave it in the trap” (Baldwin 6). This suggests that in order to desert the oppression and hardships, one must sacrifice a part of themselves. The narrator correspondingly abandoned relations with his family and culture in order to escape from the trap he grew up in. Accordingly, the narrator could have been an extraordinary teacher, yet the idea of him teaching in a white school was absurd. However, if the opportunity was presented to him, his pay would have still been less than another white man doing the same job. The reason why our narrator has not left Harlem has little to do with the fact that it is his hometown, but with the restrictions he has encountered due to his race. After the narrator hears that his little brother, Sonny, was in prison due to selling and using heroin, he thinks about how his students remind him of his brother. He thinks to himself, “These boys, now, were living as we 'd been living then, they were growing up with a rush and their heads bumped abruptly against the low ceiling of their actual possibilities” (Baldwin 1).

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