African Americans Struggles in Sonny’s Blues
Discuss the way the James Baldwin, in “Sonny’s Blues,” depicts the struggles that inner-city African-Americans faced in mid-twentieth century America.
-James Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues,” p. 1343
Racial tensions have been in existence since the ancient days and are depicted differently by various writers. James Baldwin, in his short story “Sonny Blues,” provides a clear picture of what exactly life looked like for the African Americans in the mid-twentieth century. The story is set in Harlem, which is predominantly occupied by African Americans. The characters are from the African American descent. Most of the aspects of the narrative explore the life of African Americans. Poverty is widespread in the era and has great impacts on the African-Americans. The use of drugs is also widely spread in the location. African Americans are confronted with harsh realities, mostly perpetrated by white Americans.Baldwin combines the setting, the choice of characters, and plot with an emotional tone making the story even more realistic. He gives a clear image of the limitations of racial discrimination by describing the experiences of young children at the beginning of the story, “heads bumped abruptly against the low ceiling of their actual possibilities” (Baldwin 100). The descriptive language strongly brings out the suffering of the African Americans attached to limited possibilities. The themes in the story also emphasize the struggles. Baldwin juxtaposes the darkness witnessed outside with the dark identity of the African Americans.
Baldwin, James. Sonny’s Blues. Partisan Review, 1957.