The American Dream In Sonny's Blues

772 Words4 Pages
Returning back to how social pressure affects these two families from achieving their American Dream. Social pressure is one of the factors that pulls African Americans back from achieving their American Dream. In “Sonny’s Blues,” Sonny represents the African Americans disillusionment with the American Dream. Because of the color of his skin and status, the realization that the American Dream promised opportunity, and possible attainment of economic security (that is if hard work comes to play). The real freedom within society, was never promised. Sonny’s family was raised in Harlem, a city where social pressure and racism are factors that cast a dark shadow over the hopes and dreams of many African Americans. Because of those factors Sonny’s character bestows the dark and depressing despair that lead him to use heroin to cope with the issue.
Continuing with racism, it sets a dark undercurrent that flows through "Sonny's Blues". It is faintly referenced directly, but its presence can be felt continuously. For example, Baldwin mentions beat-up housing projects (a.k.a the ghetto: a part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups.) that rise out of Harlem like ..."rocks in the middle of the boiling sea"... (Baldwin 566). The projects represent the impact of racism on a oppressed community. Likewise, much of the narrator's anxiety on behalf of his students can be attributed to the fact that they, like Sonny, are young African American men living
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