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

1261 Words Sep 29th, 2016 6 Pages
The nature versus nurture argument has been a vicious and recurring one that has spanned the course of several decades. As human culture has evolved, however, so has the debate. Scientists now concede to a middle ground where nature and nurture may be inseparable. Nature is defined as any “hereditary factors”—emotions and personalities—that influence who people are (Bandura, 575-582). Nurture, on the other hand, refers to any environmental variables—friends, family, society—that can impact an individual’s behavior and growth. In the short story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, the narrator and his younger brother, Sonny, represent nature and nurture, respectively. The narrator represses his feelings to the point that he fails to truly experience the world around him, while Sonny is so influenced by his surroundings that he loses his way on the path to self-actualization. Eventually, through the use of music, Baldwin helps each brother transcend into a realm where the “nature” and “nurture” parts of their being are both finally and equally present. Due to difficulty in pinpointing the exact genetic makeup of each brother, their personalities can be defined as their natures for the sake of argumentation. The narrator, in particular, represents more of nature than nurture throughout the majority of the story. To elaborate, the narrator is unable to communicate his emotions which makes him come off as detached. This is observed from the beginning of story when the narrator…

Related Documents