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Alienation in Baldwin and Faulkner Works

Alienation in Baldwin and Faulkner Works

Using any two writers in the syllabus from Ginsberg through DeLillo, discuss how one of the following twentieth century ideas in the United States influenced their work: alienation, social injustice, the acceptance of psychotherapy, consumerism, data overload.

Allen Ginsberg, “Howl,” p. 1394

Don Delillo, from White Noise, p. 1501

Alienation is a recurrent theme explored in many American texts written in the twentieth century. Baldwin and Faulkner, in their short stories “Sonny Blues” and “Barn Burning,” respectively, probe the issue of alienation and the impact that it may have on families. In “Sonny Blues,” the narrator, who doubles up as a main character in the story, alienates himself not only from his community but also from his immediate family- his brother Sonny. The narrator ignores and denies to accept the adverse effects of racism on Black Americans. However, as the narrative progresses, the narrator gains an understanding of his alienation and mends his relationship with Sonny.Order Now from Course ResearchersIn “Barn Burning,” the Sarty’s family is alienated from society due to his father’s criminal activity. The family is banished from the society and have to seek shelter in another city. Abner is opposed to the societal dictates and imposes the same to his family, leading to forced alienation. The suppressed family has to follow Abner’s wishes, which include defending him even when they know that he has committed a crime. Alienation in the two short stories impacts the family relations negatively. The theme of alienation largely informs the actions of the characters in the short stories.

Works Cited 

Baldwin, James. Sonny’s Blues. Partisan Review, 1957.

Faulkner, William. Barn Burning. Harper’s, 1939.

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