Friday, September 12, 2014

Sonn'y Darkness

In "Sonn'y Blues," the short story by James Baldwin, is full of symbolism relating to light and darkness. The story, which centers on the narrator's brother Sonny, and the relationship between the two over the course of time, uses heavily the ideas of light and dark to portray significant moments in the two brothers' lives. The darkness can be seen reflected in many aspects of the story, such as Sonny's heroin addiction, his arrest, and even the neighborhood the two hail from. One instance, in the very beginning of the story, the narrator is describing kids in his school as living the same way he and Sonny had at a young age. He says of them: "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. They were filled with rage. All they really knew were two darknesses, the darkness of their lives, which was now closing in on them, and the darkness of the movies, which had blinded them to that other darkness," (2892). The darkness represent one half of their lives, coupled with the light. Light is used by Baldwin to describe Sonny when he was younger, and how he just seemed to be very promising. Baldwin uses this battle of light and dark to tell a tale of caution. Though we all struggle with the light and the dark, we really have to pull through for the best. Even though Sonny struggled with the dark, in the end, he not only seemed to have found his light, but he shed light into the narrator's life through his music as well. 


  1. When I read the story I thought of how I judged addicts as weak, morally corrupt and self absorbed but seeing it through Sonny made me rethink about addiction. The two things that struck me was when Sonny's friend felt responsible for Sonny's addiction. He said that it felt great to use. Another remark that was revealing was when Sonny's brother admitted that maybe getting high did more for them
    (his students) than algebra.

  2. When I read the story I learned more about music as to how it helps us through our pain and suffering. Everyone needs a release from the bad things that happen in our lives. I really liked your interpretation of the light and dark.