The Effects of Sociocultural Factors on Individuals Essay

1315 Words 6 Pages
Swami Nirmalananda, a disciple of the Indian mystic Ramakrishna, once said “Our modern society is engaged in polishing and decorating the cage in which man is kept imprisoned.” Society is seen as a cage by many because the cultural beliefs that make up the society are what guide the actions and behaviors of those people within. Sometimes the culture in societies result in helping people develop successfully and positively, but this is not always the case. For instance, societies that were challenged by racism during the mid-twentieth century were marked by rage and were the causes of some troublesome lives. In two short stories set during the mid-twentieth century, “Sonny’s Blues,” by James Baldwin and “The Man Who Was Almost a Man,” by …show more content…
While Sonny’s father was alive, Sonny would often fight with him, and after fighting “Sonny just moves back, inside himself, where he can’t be reached” (42). Also, after Sonny’s mother passed away, it was only Sonny and his brother; however, the two were separated for a long period of time. Having support or being cared for by family members is invaluable, but Sonny did not have this and it ultimately resulted in one of the reasons for his troubled life. In Richard Wright’s short story “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” the main character, Dave Saunders, also faces a problem which can be similarly traced to sociocultural factors. While shooting his gun for the first time Dave accidentally shoots his boss’, Mr. Hawkins, mule, and the mule dies. The only reason Dave purchased a gun in the first place was to prove to the others in society, specifically those who worked alongside him at Mr. Hawkins’ plantation, that he was not a boy anymore, but rather a man. While working on Mr. Hawkins’ plantation Dave is often humiliated by the older workers because they think “[he] ain’t nothing but a boy (878). Also, the narrator states near the end of the story that a group of people that has gathered around the dead mule on the plantation laughs at Dave as he is walking away with tear-filled eyes (886). Once again this emphasizes that he receives no respect from the others. Mr. Hawkins’ plantation is similar to the social environment in Harlem described in “Sonny’s Blues”. Both
Open Document