Symbolism In Sonny's Blues By James Baldwin

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In the short story “Sonny’s Blues”, the author James Baldwin writes in first person point of view and begins the story by revealing his little brother has been arrested and is in prison for being involved with the very addictive drug, heroin. Sonny was a smart kid growing up until his older brother, the narrator, joined the army and his parents died before he entered adulthood. The narrator of the story took on a parental role towards Sonny after their parents had died but soon after lost touch with his brother because of differences in their relationship. Sonny had a passion for creating music and perused his dream, which is believed to be what led to prison. Throughout the story the narrator speaks of many different concerns for his brother Sonny, as well as personal struggles to understand his brother’s lifestyle and the darkness everyone faces. The author combines the use of imagery, symbolism, and setting to portray the message of two brothers living distinctly different lives, coming together to understand one another and realizing that one lifestyle is no better than another.
The setting takes place in Harlem, a town which both brothers grew up in and the narrator remained. The setting of the story helps explain what the two brothers were up
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Many things are described about the night club, as well as what is happening while Sonny plays; which gives a sense of imagery and overall sets the theme of the story. When the narrator enters the club, he described the room as being filled with darkness to the point of not being able to see very well. When the band starts to play however the only light that was seen turned to an indigo color. Although this may be portrayed as a simple description of the room, it is a form of imagery used to describe how instead of Sonny trying to escape the darkness as his brother did, he created his own light and took comfort in the

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