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James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues"
Moments of realization are one of the themes of the short story "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin. The narrator of this story is able to learn about his brother as well as himself through his relationship with Sonny. Baldwin allows the narrator to gain an understanding of his brother as he reflects on the differences between them. This paper will examine how the narrator comes to recognize and begins to respect Sonny for the person her has become.
In the beginning of the story, we are introduced to Sonny as a young man who was arrested for selling heroin. e also know that the narrator is not close to Sonny -- in fact, it had been seven years since he had seen him. His way of dealing with his brother was keeping it outside of himself for a long time. (Baldwin 22) The narrator admits that…… [Read More]
James Baldwin Wrote Freedom, Justice, Democracy
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines freedom as "the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action." Justice is the "conformity to truth, fact, or reason." Democracy is a government where the "supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held elections." I understand the literal context of these words but I don't believe I can truly comprehend the aforementioned concepts without truly experiencing them.
Freedom, in my eyes, is being able to do what I want without harming anybody, and just not being tied to anything. Unfortunately, I don't believe it really exists because I'm always going to be shackled to something, for example, society's demand of me to be productive. As well, I'm always going to have responsibilities like going to school if I don't want to,…… [Read More]
James aldwin grew up a neglected child. He was a black man in a white man's world -- gay man who was trying to make his mark in the world of literature. "You write of your experiences," James aldwin once said. James aldwin wrote to overcome the barriers in his life.
To better understand the thematic importance of Paris and the room in this book, we need to begin with the author. aldwin, who was born at Harlem Hospital to an unmarried, 20-year-old woman, was teased as a child because he was small and effeminate. When he was three, his mother married David aldwin, a laborer and aptist preacher who was often violent and abusive to his family. At age 24, James aldwin was scared and unhappy about the way blacks were treated in America. He had only $40 in his pocket, but he escaped to Paris where he did…… [Read More]
ith music, Sonny can express his pain without tripping up on words. Music becomes a flow of pure emotion, therefore leaving him satisfied with his mode of transmitting his emotions to an audience. Therefore, Sonny is allowed the chance at redemption for his past sins as an addict and criminal, (Tackach 113). He once was lost, but returns to his family to bring substance back into his brother's life. hen Sonny does return back into the good graces of the narrator, he never blames him for anything or reminds him of his broken promise to their mother to watch over Sonny.
And so, the narrator himself becomes the burden for not watching over his brother, as he had promised. This becomes part of his pain and anguish over his life, (Tackach 114). As the narrator once again gets to know his brother, he becomes intrigued with the idea of music…… [Read More]
James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues applying historcal criticism method. To begin developing thesis, helpful review sections chapter Critical Theory Today list "Some questions…critics literary texts.
James Baldwin's 1957 short story "Sonny's Blues" deals with elements in the life of an African-American family during several moments in their lives as they try to cope with the difficult conditions at the beginning of the second half of the twentieth century. Baldwin concentrates on the 1950s as being an essential time for African-Americans because of the emancipation that they experience across this period. In spite of the fact that Baldwin essentially puts across a figment of his imagination, the overall background and actions in the story can be associated with real-life events. Through employing the historical critical method, readers are likely to gain a better comprehension of the text and to be enabled to link it to the turbulent conditions present in Harlem at…… [Read More]
Sexuality, Discord, And Love in James Baldwin's Another Country
James Baldwin is most well-known for his ability to blend the ideas of sexuality and race and place them in a contemporary context. One of the best examples of his ability is the novel, Another Country. Baldwin illustrates the New York City underworld, and the relationships between its members. Most importantly, Baldwin addresses the idea of bisexuality, both literally and metaphorically. He uses the suicide death of a character to explore the personalities of those close to the individual.
e, the readers, are introduced to relationships between a variety of different people. There are people of different races, creeds, social backgrounds, and lifestyles. Yet they all have many of the same tendencies regarding sex. Baldwin also explores the biases and prejudices of society, and how they are incorporated into the interracial relationships portrayed by the novel. Most importantly, Baldwin allows the…… [Read More]
Character in Giovanni's Room.
Personal values are thought to be a combination of experience and belief, or the mixture of what a person has come to believe through what they have learned and what they may have experienced. hen the inner belief system and the experiences of the world are in conflict the person often is found to be in a state of confusion or ennui. "Deeply held values -- core values -- anchor every literary character's (and individual's) view of the world and the self. hen core values come under attack, a character feels a compelling conflict and seeks to reduce the threat.... Understanding core values is the key to understanding character, which, in turn, leads to understanding conflict, plot, and the underlying design of a narrative" (Mckenna and Raabe 203). James Baldwin, in his book, Giovanni's Room, depicts a young man in conflict. Alienated from his own culture,…… [Read More]
Stranger in the Village
In writing that the American vision of the world still tends today to paint moral issues in glaring black-and-white, James aldwin refers to both America's perception of the American Negro as an inferior race adjunct and its own superiority in the world. It is primarily a cry against racial discrimination.
lack refers to the American Negroes and white refers to white men, the Americans. These Americans were originally discontented Europeans (aldwin 1955) who came to the New World - which later became the North American continent - and found the lacks there. These original settlers believed that they were morally destined to conquer this vast and great Continent and, out of necessity, had to reconcile the fact of lack slavery as part of that moral assumption of superiority, conquest and destiny. It has been more than 300 years since at Jamestown and the Negro has remained…… [Read More]
Langston Hughes and James Baldwin Compare/Contrast
Music plays a major role in much of the literature that came out of the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was an American cultural movement that aimed to celebrate African-American culture through literature, art, and other intellectual and artistic means. One of the musical styles that was influential in literary works of Langston Hughes and James Baldwin was the blues. This musical style rose out of the experiences of African-Americans; the Harlem Renaissance sought to celebrate these experiences by juxtaposing the struggles of past generations with the struggle of present generations. In "The eary Blues" by Langston Hughes, a narrator observes an old blues musician as he sings his weary tune. In "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin, the narrator finally comes to understand what has motivated his brother to pursue a life in music and how his brother's experiences have been highly influential in…… [Read More]
Throughout these essays he weaves the larger political events of the day. Well aware that lack soldiers made important contributions in World War II, he notes that the armed forces were strongly segregated. He notes that Italy is fighting a war in Ethiopia, and sees, perhaps correctly, racial issues there.
It is clear that aldwin's intended audience is fellow lacks. For instance, the essay "Journey to Atlanta" opens with the sentence, "The Progressive Party has not, so far as I can gather, made any great impression in Harlem..." (p. 73). What Progressive Party? Who are they, and what do they stand for? aldwin assumes the reader already knows the basics. His point is that lacks had been disenfranchised from any effective political influence for so long that many were indifferent to all politics, even when those practicing them might have been looking to assist them in some way. aldwin pointed…… [Read More]
"The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin shows how women's personal liberty may be subjugated to and circumscribed by the wills of their husband. Mrs. Mallard considers herself to be liberated from this influence when her husband has been mistakenly proclaimed dead; excited at the opportunity to be able to live her life for herself, instead of acquiescing to him, she dies upon discovering that he is still very much alive.
"Barbie Doll" is a poem by Marge Piercy that details how frustrating it can be for women to consistently be trapped in stereotypical roles of demure, pretty ladies all the time. This poem details how those expectations begin early on in life, and can eventually force a woman to take drastic action (including plastic surgery which is alluded to in the poem) to fit into such a mold.
Langston Hughes' "Theme for English B" showcases the differences African-Americans…… [Read More]
bored, personal insights, pleasure, or disapproval, and some thoughts about possible directions for research in the field of African-American literature. Baldwin's first novel is a classic coming of age novel set in New York during the Harlem enaissance. eading "Go Tell it on the Mountain" gives the reader insight on what it is like to be Black in America, and what it is like to rebel and search for yourself in Black society.
Baldwin's story is moving and memorable, and it follows the story of the young protagonist, John, with pathos and understanding. Clearly, Baldwin had experienced what he wrote about, and he understood the longings and worries that plagued a fourteen-year-old growing up in Harlem in 1935. John wants desperately to please his father, as most young people do, but the barrier between them is far too big for John to understand or identify. It is quite easy to…… [Read More]
Furthermore, when his little brother starts playing the piano and gradually produces better music the narrator and all of the people in the club are captivated, making it obvious that Sonny believed that his passion could surpass heroin in putting his suffering behind.
The devastating news that the narrator's uncle was murdered has a somewhat beneficial effect on the narrator, given that he takes on the role of caring for himself and the rest of the family. Suffering and the diverse methods through which it can be subdued is the main theme of the short story. The suffering produced by the fact that society rejects him influences Sonny's passion for playing the piano. The drug bust makes the narrator aware that he does not know Sonny and that his brother is completely alone, inducing a feeling of remorse. Later on, with the narrator's daughter, Gracie, dying because of polio, the…… [Read More]
For most of the story the setting surrounded the narrator and his life. It was his house, his family, and his experiences that made up the majority of the story. However, after the narrator reconciles with Sonny and he is invited to be part of the narrator's life, the setting of the story changes to Sonny and that which surrounds his life; particularly his music. The narrator and Sonny visit a blues club where Sonny, after nearly a year without touching a piano, gets up on stage with the band and begins to play. Only at the end of the story, when Sonny is playing on stage, does his brother, and the readers, understand that music is Sonny's outlet for his emotional pain. All the pain of life that he has endured from a lifetime of drug abuse is released through his music. Sonny and his music become the focus…… [Read More]
It seems like so many lives are wasted, and it does not really have to be that way at all.
This story is really well written and compelling. The reader really feels like they know and understand these two characters by the end of the story, and it also made me think about all the elements that go into good fiction. Each of these stories is different, even though they do have commonalities in themes and ideas, but each story has a different style, and that shows me how unique we all are, and how we all have a different voice and a different way of looking at things. All these stories made me think, and they made me appreciate the differences in writing, and discover I appreciate them all.
The Bedford Anthology of World Literature: The Twentieth Century, 1900-the Present. New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2003.… [Read More]
Baldwin and 'Down on the Coss'
Not eveything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced."
The now flouishing talent of James Baldwin had no easy bith, and he did not emege ovenight, as some of his new discovees would have you believe. Fo yeas this talent was in incubation in the ghetto of Halem, befoe he went to Euope nealy a decade ago in an attempt to discove the United States and how he and his people elate to it. The book in which that discovey is potayed, The Fie Next Time (New Yok: Dial Pess, 1963), is a continuation of his seach fo place and definition.
The hadships of that seach wee ecently descibed by Steling Stuckey, Chaiman of the Committee of Nego Cultue and Histoy:
The tagedy of the Ameican Nego is bon of the twin evils of…… [Read More]
Balducci, a soldier who Daru knows, approaches with an Arab prisoner. Balducci's government papers give custody of the prisoner to Daru, who must now take him to the French jail in Tinguit. Upset, Daru wishes to refuse. He does not want to become involved. Balducci likewise does not want to be in the lawmaker role. "You don't get used to putting a rope on a man even after years of it, and you're even ashamed-yes, ashamed." Balducci, in fact, is shirking his responsibility for decision making by passing the buck on to Daru.
Daru understands that the Arab is being made a political example -- in other words, a guinea pig. He killed his cousin in a family feud, which is not a case for the French colonial courts but the involved families. Daru accepts his charge, but relunctantly. By doing so, Daru is taking a clear position, defying the…… [Read More]
James Baldwin and "Sonny's Blues"
African-American James Baldwin (1924-1987) was born in Harlem in New York City, the son of a Pentecostal minister (Kennedy and Gioia 53). Much of Baldwin's work, which includes three novels and numerous short stories and essays, describes conflicts, dilemmas, obstacles, and choices faced by African-Americans in modern-day white-dominated society, and ways, good and bad, that African-Americans either surmount or fall victim to racial prejudices, stereotypes, temptations and inner conflicts. Baldwin's best-known work, the novel Go Tell It on the Mountain (1957) describes a single day in the lives of several members of a church in Harlem (Kennedy and Gioia). James Baldwin is also the author of two other novels, Giovanni's Room (1956) and Another Country (1962), both of which deal with homosexual experience, and a collection of essays, Notes of a Native Son (1955) (Kennedy and Gioia).
In the short story "Sonny's Blues (1957), Baldwin's…… [Read More]
James Baldwin, "Giovanni's Room"
Giovanni's Room is, on closer examination, a more unusual novel than it appears at first glance: its author, James Baldwin, is routinely counted among the greatest African-American novelists, and yet if one were asked to read the book blind and guess who wrote it, one would scarcely imagine the author to be African-American. The lion's share of the novel is set in Europe, and in a cast which includes a hulking blond protagonist and various American and European supporting characters, there is not a single African-American depicted. But Giovanni's Room avoids the thorny topic of race only to address an (arguably) even thornier topic in the year of its publication -- 1956 -- which is male homosexuality. As the book begins, though, it is not immediately evident that this is even going to be the topic, as David (the aforementioned hulking blond protagonist) is dealing with…… [Read More]
Kettleman walked calmly through the streets of New York, his lean stomach slowly digesting the news that had quietly penetrated the brain lying beneath his straw colored hair. Dying. Hell, he had been dying since he was born, he supposed, but the news he just received form his doctor and friend made it seem a lot more real than it had at any other point in his life. Not that death hadn't seemed real before. He had seen plenty of death, and had been at the causal end of this effect for many others that had crossed his path in the wrong way. But his own death -- now, that was something else. Not scary, exactly, and not even really worrisome, but it certainly seemed to put things in a different perspective. He had always known that life was a finite thing, but now he could actually see its limits,…… [Read More]
Music becomes the symbol that changes the brothers. To emphasize the importance of the power of music, Baldwin's narrator cannot grasp what Sonny is speaking about until he sees him play. It is only when he experiences the sound does he finally "get it." Music bridges the chasm that has existed between these brothers for so long and it literally saves their relationship from further darkness and turmoil. Sonny's blues are the very thing that save his life and, whether he realizes it or not, he is one of the lucky ones in that he found a way to escape - if only for a little while.
Baldwin, James. "Sonny's Blues." The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction R.V. Cassill, ed .. Norton and Company. New York: 1981. pp. 22-48.
Champion, Laurie. "Literary Contexts in Short Stories: James Baldwin's 'Sonny's Blues.'" 2006. EBSCO Resource Database. Information Retrieved October 19,…… [Read More]
This is all he cares to know about Sonny because knowing anymore might be painful for him. It is also worth noting that the protagonist in this tale has gone on to become successful and live a somewhat respectable life, unlike his brother. The protagonist does everything he can to escape the street life that held no future, no promise. He fled the pain and darkness of those streets and Sonny was just a painful reminder of his past. Donald Murray writes that there is "no escape from the darkness for Sonny and his family" (Murray 354) and the only way to cope is by finding another way to survive with the darkness.
Sonny's brother could not have chosen a more different path in life to take. He is a teacher and feels a certain amount of superiority over Sonny. Sonny was not in the least bit inclined to become…… [Read More]
There are costs to bearing and believing in such a secret.
These costs are manifested in many ways. There are the psychosomatic costs Jesse endures, his impotence, his weakness around the black boy in the jail, his tremors at the thought of Otis, "Now the thought of Otis made him sick. He began to shiver." There are also the psychological costs that Jesse is plagued by, the self-delusion associated with believing racism is moral, the mental anguish, and the constant struggle over whether he can trust his coconspirators, "They were forced to depend on each other more and, at the same time, to trust each other less" (Baldwin). What Baldwin is underscoring with these psychological and psychosomatic burdens is that the path Jesse has followed, a path of racism and discrimination, has led him to a very troubled existence.
Baldwin wants the reader to understand that proponents for a Jim…… [Read More]
On the threshold of the Civil Rights movement, Baldwin would publish
Notes of a Native Son. Though 1953's Go Tell It On The Mountain would be
perhaps Baldwin's best known work, it is this explicitly referential
dialogic follow-up to right's
Native Son that would invoke some of the most compelling insights which
Baldwin would have to offer on the subject of American racism. This is,
indeed, a most effectively lucid examination from the perspective of a
deeply self-conscious writer enduring the twin marks in a nation of
virulent prejudice of being both African American and homosexual. The
result of this vantage is a set of essays that reaches accord with right's
conception of the socially devastating impact of segregation on the psyche,
conscience and real opportunity but also one that takes issue with the
brutality of Bigger, a decidedly negative image to be invoked of the black
man in America.…… [Read More]
Black Experience in American Culture
This is a paper that analyzes the black experience in American culture as presented by Hughes, Baldwin, Wright and Ellison. It has 20 sources in MLA format.
African-American authors have influenced American culture as they have come forward to present issues that the society would rather have forgotten. Authors such as ichard Wright alph Ellison, Langston Hughes and James Baldwin have come under fire as they have written about the racial and biased experiences throughout their life [Capetti, 2001] and through their narratives they have forged a link between the past, the present (themselves) and their future (the unborn generation).
These literary works are an effort on their part to prove to their nations that regardless of the perceived realities their existence and lives have valuable. The slave past some of these authors have had created a void in their lives that at times left…… [Read More]
62), a society with "shallow-rooted" norms (p. 177), a "meager and difficult place" as opposed to the expansive way Ruth wishes to grow as a woman. (p. 178) Helen's storm inside, this mother's crisis of identity, has parallels not with Baldwin's women, but with characters such as the Reverend Henry, whose anger at hite society can only be expressed in a eulogy over his beloved son's casket. Extremity in both the apparently placid Henry and Helen brings forth rage and despair, but while at least Henry's male rage is life-affirming, urging his community to go on in the face of the death of a young person, Helen's actions are regressive, infantile, returning to her father, and do not occur as an act of social protest.
The gendered constructions of mourning and identity formulation for Helen's daughters Ruth and Lucille also indicate the limited repertoire the Housekeeping society provides for women…… [Read More]
Sonny's Blues evised
Baldwin was not an unknown writer even before Sonny's Blues, a short story, was published in the year 1957. This story first appeared in Partisan eview that was one of the most popular and respected journals at that time. Sonny's Blues was published once again by Baldwin in the year 1965. This time he published it in his collection of short stories that was called "Going to Meet the Man."
This story had the potential of attracting a good deal of positive criticism; nonetheless all the analysts viewed this story with different perspectives. Even before this short story was published, Baldwin had a reputation for writing about African-American issues; so many critiques were of the view that this story was based on racism. "Definitely, Baldwin acted like a spokesman when the American civil rights movement was going in during the 1950s and the 1960s because a number…… [Read More]
However, unlike Baldwin, Douglass steers clear of dealing with racial and class struggle. Her exploration of American character constraints stick mainly to the experience of white middle class women in the United States, which is some ways another constriction in itself.
James Baldwin explores how America's rampant racism forbids the essential individualism which is glorified in the United States. Despite believing in the possibilities of American individualism, Baldwin believes that this will never be possible due to racism. He believes that the idea of white purity is constructed based on the notion that blacks are inferior in some ways. This he believes, holds not only African-Americans back from attaining true independence, but also whites. African-Americans are denied the chance to become the real individuals that they are based on social constructions; white Americans he believes are holding themselves back through the "innocence which constitutes the crime," (Baldwin 6). In both…… [Read More]
While the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it must always be heard," writes James aldwin in his short story, Sonny's lues. "There isn't any other tale to tell, it's the only light we've got in all this darkness." This might be called the theme of Sonny's lues, and it comes at the end of a long descriptive passage about the playing of music -- of the blues, in particular -- and how truly playing music is difficult, dangerous, beautiful, and deep; that being intimate with one's instrument is akin to being intimate with one's life. Sonny's lues is about being lost, and trying to be found, within the context of being a black man in this society; and of finding oneself as so many black men have, through the blues -- both as music, and…… [Read More]
Sonny's Blues": Two brothers, two parallel lives
James Baldwin's short story "Sonny's Blues" is contingent upon a comparison of the lives of two men, Sonny's brother and Sonny himself. Sonny's brother is a stable family man with a wife and two children, a respected schoolteacher. Sonny is a heroin addict and jazz musician. On a schematic level, they represent two sides of the African-American experience, as chronicled by Baldwin during the 1960s. On one hand, Sonny's unnamed brother seems to have made the 'right' choices, unlike his ne'er-do-well brother. However, Sonny's brother clearly mourns certain aspects of life that Sonny has enjoyed, such as Sonny's passion for music. Sonny's brother clearly feels that he has lost something in capitulating to the ideals of white society, even though his brother's absorption in a world of drug use suggests that Sonny's life is not a model one would want to follow. The…… [Read More]
Sonny's brother wakes up and states, "Freedom lurked around us and I understood, at last, that he could help us to be free if we would listen, that he would never be free until we did" (47). Sonny was more free and living a life more true than his brother realized.
The transformation in Sonny's brother is dramatic. Duncan writes, "By the end of the story, the narrator has gained much more than an astute musical ear. He has learned . . . To listen" (Duncan). Throughout the story, Baldwin designates the act of listening as the linchpin of this moral tale; by focusing on an often-overlooked component of communication, this early Baldwin story illustrates how Brother, initially deaf to what Sonny calls "all that hatred and misery and love," opens his ears to his culture, his brother, and himself. and, through Brother's example, readers might also become more willing…… [Read More]
edemption is a theme that is prevalent in many works of literature. As it has its basis in religious belief, religion is often an accompanying theme to stories about redemption. Two stories that involve redemption are James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues and Flannery O'Connor's Good Country People, but both do so in very different ways. While Baldwin's Sonny's Blues portrays redemption in a more traditional way, O'Connor's Good Country People demonstrates redemption in a dark and somewhat tragic way. But in both stories the characters, after some pain and suffering, do gain redemption in their own ways.
Baldwin's story is a take-off of the "prodigal son" story from the Bible with two brothers, one good and one a troublemaker. The narrator in Sonny's Blues is asked by his dying mother to take care of his younger brother Sonny who is a drug abuser.(Baldwin, 1995, pp.118-119) After an initial attempt, he turns…… [Read More]
Psychology of the Bigot -- the Anti-Semite vs. The Racist
In "Anti-Semite and Jew," the existentialist philosopher John Paul Sartre, a gentile, analyzed the psychology of an anti-Semitic individual who hates Jews. He did so from the perspective of an outsider to the group he was examining over the course of his essay, as well as attempting to plumb the psychology of the 'insider' of this group. In "The Fire Next Time," James Baldwin examined the American racist's perspective from the point-of-view of the object of racial hatred and ostrication, namely his own perspective as a Black man in America. Both, however, attempted to relate the psychology of hatred to larger political concerns, in Sartre's case that of a biased and class-oriented French society, and in Baldwin's case that of the Cold ar, which he suggested caused the fear of tragedy to intensify racial divisions in America.
At the beginning…… [Read More]
It is intriguing to observe how the narrator and Pete focus on detaching themselves from their brothers and from their past. The fact that they've reached a position that makes them distinguished from most individuals makes it possible for them to develop a sense of protectiveness. They have struggled to get where they currently are and they are unwilling to allow their brothers to affect their well-being.
Although some might be inclined to believe that Pete is less enthusiastic about helping his brother when comparing this character with the narrator in "Sonny's Blues," the reality is that Pete also feels responsible for his brother. Although he feels that Donald should be more careful about the activities he is involved in, he cannot possibly stand and watch his brother suffering. Pete's subconscious mind apparently acknowledges the important role Donald plays in his life and actually sends mixed messages concerning their relationship.…… [Read More]
ho is the main character in the story (choose between Sonny and the narrator)? Also, explain why then you consider the other man to be a minor character.
The main character of the story is without a doubt the narrator. This is because the narrator is the one who is doing all of the experiencing in the film. The narrator is the one who discovers the news about Sonny and is the one who receives all information and who processes all information. Truly the narrator is the one who sets the tone and who introduces all thoughts and impressions to the reader. ithout the narrator, the reader would not have any information about the past and present, and while all of this information does revolve around Sonny, essentially the narrator is the one who is engaging in all of the actions and discoveries in the story. In fact,…… [Read More]
Daru is still trying to cling to a sense of morality; yet, the Arab himself shows how this will not work in a world of uncertainty because after he is set free, he goes to the police station himself.
James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" Topic 6
James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" is an interesting tale of a lost soul, who finds his solace and ability to express himself through the art of music. Sonny lost both of his parents, and his brother was not there for him during the times he needed him the most. Sonny's brother did not understand his suffering, and as a result he turned his back on Sonny during his times of darkness. Sonny was left alone in a world of darkness and he was not strong enough to deal with it in a healthier manner, as his brother did. Therefore, Baldwin writes "this life, whatever it was,…… [Read More]
Crime and Punishment
Ours is an extremely violent kind of world where even the most common type of folk can find themselves faced with types of unspeakable horrors and criminal activity through little or no intention of their own. In American literature, a common theme is the concept of the freedom of choice and how a person's choices come to affect not only themselves, but all of the people around them. Some of the choices that people, and their literary counterparts, make lead them to crime. It is the purpose of the American justice system to ensure that crimes are punished. However, in literature, that is not always the case. Crime in the American judicial sense is activity which violates the laws of the United States of America. In literature, these are not always the crimes that the authors feel deserve punishment. Three specific stories which deal with crime and…… [Read More]
Yet perhaps no American author embraced the grotesque with the same enthusiasm as the Southern Flannery O'Connor. In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," O'Connor uses the example of a family annihilated by the side of the road by an outlaw named the Misfit to show the bankruptcy of American life. Instead of an evil serial killer, the Misfit is portrayed as a kind of force of divine justice, who unintentionally allows the grandmother of the family to experience grace. She says that she believes the man is like one of own her children before he kills her. In O'Connor's stories, the characters do not fight for their insight, rather it is given in mysterious, often deadly ways, and it always originates with the divine, not with the human will.
If O'Connor represents the most extreme version of grotesque American literature, Ralph Ellison represents perhaps the most balanced use…… [Read More]
They were followed in 1936 by the Harlem River Houses, a more modest experiment in housing projects. And by 1964, nine giant public housing projects had been constructed in the neighborhood, housing over 41,000 people [see also Tritter; Pinckney and oock].
The roots of Harlem's various pre 1960's-era movements for African-American equality began growing years before the Harlem Renaissance itself, and were still alive long after the Harlem Renaissance ended. For example:
The NAACP became active in Harlem in 1910 and Marcus Garvey's Universal
Negro Improvement Organization in 1916. The NAACP chapter there soon grew to be the largest in the country. Activist a. Philip Randolph lived in Harlem and published the radical magazine the Messenger starting in 1917.
It was from Harlem that he organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car
Porters. .E.B. DuBois lived and published in Harlem in the 1920s, as did
James eldon Johnson and Marcus Garvey.…… [Read More]
African-Americans are second only to Native Americans, historically, in terms of poor treatment at the hands of mainstream American society. Although African-Americans living today enjoy nominal equality, the social context in which blacks interact with the rest of society is still one that tangibly differentiates them from the rest of America. This cultural bias towards blacks is in many notable ways more apparent than the treatment of other people of color, such as Asian immigrants, as is reflected in disparate wages and living conditions experienced by these respective groups. Common stereotypes hold the successful, college educated black man or woman as the exception rather than the rule, whereas Asians are commonly thought of as over-achievers. Although any bias undermines social interaction in that it shifts attention away from individual merit, the bias towards African-Americans can be said to be worse than most, and lies at the root of discrimination and…… [Read More]
American Studies - Anthology
American Studies -- Anthology: Freedom vs. Tyranny
America's history includes a number of competing forces. One of the chief struggles has been the clash between Freedom and Tyranny. As Why Freedom Matters shows, our national consciousness is dominated with the idea that our forefathers risked everything so that all people in America can have freedom. However, Public Speaking shows that the dominant or "luckiest" group in America consists of white, gentile, straight males, who form a very powerful and wealthy special interest group. An example of the favoritism enjoyed by a powerful, wealthy special interest group is the Texan oilman group mentioned in Dominion from Sea to Sea. The favorable treatment given to powerful, wealthy special interests groups results in oppression of "others" such as farmers who fought for America's freedom but seemed to trade the tyranny of Great Britain for the tyranny of the wealthy,…… [Read More]
7-9). In fact, Armstrong was often viewed as a kind of sell-out or race-traitor of a certain degree by many black musicians (par. 10). This parallels Sonny's brothers attempts to remove himself from Harlem and the stereotypical black life; he strives to be a respectable math teacher and escape his path (par. 10).
In the final section of the story, "contraries" in the jazz motif begin to appear (par. 11). Especially unusual elements in this section are the character of Creole and the piece of music Sonny plays, "Am I Blue?" (par. 11). Creoles are not usually considered representative of the true black experience; as the descendants of French and Spanish settlers who eventually took light-skinned girls as wives, producing the black Creole (par. 12). If this moment is supposed to represent both Sonny's and his brother's return to the community, this character is a strange choice (par. 12). The…… [Read More]
My personal response to the play is I loved reading it and the more I thought about families (not just black families) when I read through it again. The oldest son in the play was trusted to deposit the money from the check (to buy a better home), but he turned out to be unable to follow through with his responsibility. That's sad. Also, in the play it was brought home to me that the neighbor was willing to pay the family NT to move into his neighborhood. It still is that way today. White folks fear that black folks will bring loud parties into their neighborhood, and that black folks won't take good care of their property and it will devalue the neighborhood. That's not fair to assume such a thing about blacks, but unfortunately, a lot of white people still believe those things. That's why the play is…… [Read More]
ith the link to the Bible, the story "…resonates with the richness of distant antecedents" and it no longer is "locked in the middle of the twentieth century"; hence, it never grows old, Foster concludes (56).
C.S. Lewis on the Importance of Reading Good Literature
C.S. Lewis, noted novelist, literary critic, lay theologian and essayist, advocates reading literature in his book an Experiment in Criticism. He is disappointed in fact when individuals only read important novels once. Reading a novel the second time for many on his list of incomplete readers is "…like a burnt-out match, an old railway ticket, or yesterday's paper" (Lewis, 2012, p. 2). Those bright alert people who read great works will read the same book "…ten, twenty or thirty times" during their lifetime and discover more with each reading, Lewis writes. The person who is a "devotee of culture" is worth "much more than the…… [Read More]
Race continues to play a role in American culture and policy in the 21st century. Average incomes in the United tates are demonstrably dissimilar, affirmative action policies allow campuses to use race as a determining factor when creating student bodies, and race continues to define media and culture to a significant degree. To some extent, these factors should escape our criticism, as it can't be considered desirable for all people from all races and cultural backgrounds to converge into a national monoculture. However, to the extent that people are excluded from opportunities as a result of race rather than merit, we have no choice but to find fault and look for solutions. As Richard Payne writes in Getting Beyond Race, "General racial classifications ignore the obvious biological reality that each individual within the human species, with the exception of identical twins, is genetically unique." (Payne, pg. 1)
The essentialist articulation…… [Read More]
Cornel West's Race Matters
In the mid-1990s, Cornel West published a series of essays in a collection titled Race Matters. he title is a play on words, as West points out in his Preface. On the one hand, the word matters serves as a synonym for issues. West notes there have always been issues about race in the United States, throughout its history. On the other hand, matters is used as a verb. Race matters -- it means something to be white and quite another to be black. West's point is that it matters how one is perceived and treated in our society, depending upon the color of one's skin.
West begins his Preface with a 1963 quote from the writer James Baldwin. Race relations were in turmoil at the time of Baldwin's writing. he civil rights movement was gaining momentum and caused tremendous strife throughout the nation, particularly in…… [Read More]
Shooting an Elephant - Orwell
I clearly got the impression that Orwell was caught between a rock and a hard place, to understate the situation. He raged at the Burma residents who hated the British and took it out on British police -- and on the other hand, he knew imperialism was a bad policy and he did not have positive thoughts at all about his duty in a British uniform. I was very attentive to his narrative, and I was impressed too that the narrator knew he was "ill-educated" (which is quite an admission) and was living day-to-day with rage and hatred.
My predictions for the rest of the essay include the thought that the protagonist will not be able to handle the situation well at all. First of all, I hate it that elephants are chained up and made to do humans' work, and I can't blame that…… [Read More]
One is virtually provided with the chance to become 'friends' with the narrators as the respective individual realizes that he or she is being told personal things and that it appears that the story-tellers actually go as far as to consider that they are telling their stories to someone that they have a special relationship with.
Amy Tan is putting across averly's personal feelings to readers as she expresses her understanding of her mother's thinking. "My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America. You could open a restaurant. You could work for the government and get good retirement. You could buy a house with almost no money" (Tan 132). hen looking at things from the narrator's perspective, it almost feels impossible not to sympathize with averly and not to consider that it would be essential for you, as a reader, to support her by using…… [Read More]
Learning to read and write in English has been one of my most treasured accomplishments in the recent past. To begin with, learning to read and write in English is in my opinion the very first step towards becoming a fluent speaker of one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. In that regard therefore, I am convinced that fluency in English is a plus as I pursue my career of choice. Given that English is one of the most common languages, corporations and most organizations would ordinarily hire individuals who can relate well with their customers and clients. Being able to read, write, and speak English will therefore give me a distinct advantage in my future job seeking endeavors. It is also important to note that fully aware that the world is increasingly becoming interconnected; the relevance of learning an additional language cannot be overstated. It is…… [Read More]
" He is educated, is a teacher, and does not socialize with the people he grew up with, including his brother. He lives a middle-class life and mildly disapproves of everything else. He seems white in his attitudes and his ideas. Sonny, on the other hand, has retained his black culture and awareness even as he escapes the poverty of their early life. He is truly happy when he plays his music, and that finally brings the two brothers closer together. The novel shows that even people of the same race can have two vastly different social cultures, and that how Americans view each other is based on culture, but also on assimilation. They approve more of the narrator because he has become "white" and made his life into the typical middle-class existence, while they disapprove of Sonny who seems dangerous because he has not assimilated. IT shows how different…… [Read More]
I guess at this point he is losing me a bit. The core concept is still that privilege is about controlling access to resources and using physical traits (the first rung of the diversity wheel) as the most powerful means of doing that. I just find that it is hard to see the point he is trying to make in this chapter because he is pretending that there is no world outside the U.S. Privilege has existed in every human society. If the arguments he is making here are difficult to understand, it is because they are tangential to a genuine understanding of what privilege is. He needs to stop pretending that the U.S. is the only country in the world if he wants to make sense of privilege. Privilege existed long before slavery.
This chapter probably has less personal relevance for me than some of the other chapters. It…… [Read More]
building of the nation. Education not only means the acquisition of new skills and knowledge through classrooms and lectures but also meant to be the experience gotten while working under a skilled and knowledgeable person.
Many scholars and leaders in the past and today's world have thrown light on this topic through thousand of words and enlightened quotes. It is basically a thing which can not only change a person. But in fact it helps in changing the whole society and further to much larger extent than just a society. As Nelson Mandela said,
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world"
Nelson Mandela's words clearly illustrate the importance of education and its role in the development of society. In the modern era the power of education is accepted globally and it is crystal clear from the performance of literate people that only those…… [Read More]
Bloodlines and ace
George Zimmerman allegedly killed Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager, in self-defense. The case has gotten national attention partly because of the issue of racial profiling. Many people believe that Zimmerman is biased against African-Americans and that he held a stereotypical view of Trayvon: a black teenager, face half-hidden under a hoodie, does not belong in a white neighborhood and is looking for trouble. Another dimension to the case is Zimmerman's own race, which is not clear.
Zimmerman's race is "a complicated matter" (Gamboa, 2012). Initially, the police described Zimmerman as white. Although his last name is Jewish, Zimmerman is not. His father calls him a "Spanish speaking minority." On voter registration forms, both Zimmerman and his mother identify themselves as Hispanic. Zimmerman's father listed himself as white. ace is important in the case because no one, other than Zimmerman, really knows exactly what happened. Zimmerman claims he…… [Read More]
Diaz's Examination Of Culture: Clashes And Identities
Diaz's Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a combination of cultural experiences and influences that are as rich and imaginative as the stories the book contains. Within the main character, Oscar, lies the power to both transcend definition of culture and become victim or prey of a specific culture's stereotypes and norms. Oscar is an obese, alienated person within his own culture, but he is drawn out of his personal problems and violent existence within the Dominican dictatorship through his love of escapist literature and stories. Oscar even refers to himself as a "victim of fuku americanus," or the "Curse of the New World." (Diaz, 2007). This is an integral idea within the novel and helps to shape the cultural struggles that are contained within it.
Throughout this entire voyage through Oscar's life, author Diaz explores the mixture of cultures, languages, and ideas…… [Read More]
From Slavery to African-American
By the beginning of the Civil ar, there were some four million African-Americans living in the United States, 3.5 million slaves lived in the South, while another 500,000 lived free across the country (African pp). The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 granted freedom to all slaves in the Confederacy, and the 13th Amendment of 1865 freed the remaining slaves throughout the nation (African pp). During the Reconstruction Era, African-Americans in the South gained a number of civil rights, including the right to vote and to hold office, however, when Reconstruction ended in 1877, white landowners initiated racial segregation that resulted in vigilante violence, including lynchings (African pp).
This resulted in the Great Migration of African-Americans from the South to the North during the beginning of the twentieth century (African pp).
From this Great Migration came an intellectual and cultural elite group of African-Americans that grew…… [Read More]
Colonial Resistance in Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe was born in Ogidi, Nigeria, and his father was a teacher in a missionary school. His parents were devout evangelical Protestants and christened him Albert after Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, although they installed in him many of the values of their traditional Igbo culture. He attended University College in Ibadan, where he studied English, history and theology. At the university Achebe rejected his ritish name and took his indigenous name Chinua. In 1953 he graduated with a A, and later studied broadcasting at the C where, in 1961, he became the first Director of External roadcasting at the Nigerian roadcasting Corporation. In 1944 Achebe attended Government College in Umuahia. He was also educated at the University College of Ibadan, like other major Nigerian writers including John Okigbo, Wole Soyinka, John Pepper Clark, Elechi Amadi, and Cole Omotso. There he studied…… [Read More]
homosexual teenagers in America. This is because numerous research studies have revealed that both male and female homosexuals are at danger not only from the traditional cultural forces but also from their sexual and non-sexual behavior and habits. Discrimination against homosexuals has been an extensively researched topic. Many scholars have asked for better curriculums and schooling environment for children from all backgrounds so that they grow up to appreciate sexual diversity. People who oppose homosexuality ought to know that this phenomenon is an extremely old tradition and has deep cultural roots and thus should be appreciated like all other ancient cultures. As Carla Mathison (1998) writes "Gay men and lesbians are not identified by their sex, ethnicity, religion, geographic location, socioeconomic or ability level but by their orientation to their own gender that includes, but is not limited to, sexual intimacy. (Carla Mathison, 1998)."
Carla Mathison (1998) further reveals and…… [Read More]
Race and the eb: Jack and Jill Politics and Making Race Manifest
According to author Lisa Nakamura, during the original, heady days of the Internet, it was hoped that the anonymous nature of the virtual medium would allow for the creation of a post-racial identity. Theoretically, no one 'needed' to reveal their visual appearance online, and thus race would become less important (Nakamura 106). The disembodied nature of the medium would allow for a more fluid and expansive conception of the self. However, the Internet has instead allowed for a plethora of subcultures resurrecting old racist stereotypes. hites have been able to try on such false personas and thus perpetrate them more easily than members of historically discriminated-against groups have been able to temporarily 'set aside' their race online. Nakamura suggests that people who masquerade as members of other races and use their posturing to advance such outmoded notions are…… [Read More]
Black Writers on What it Means to Be White
In his introduction to Black Writers on What it Means to be White, David R. Roediger critiques traditional white historiographies and pays credence to the work of prominent Black scholars the likes of W.E.B. Du Bois and James Baldwin. Roediger shows that whites frequently write about what it means to be Black, but that Black historians, philosophers, and writers are summarily ignored. Most white scholars, according to Roediger, don't feel that Blacks have much insight into the features or characteristics of "whiteness." On the other hand, so-called liberal academics claims to know a lot about the needs, wants, histories, and passions of African-Americans. As the author sets out to prove, Blacks actually have more insight into white culture than vice-versa. Blacks have in fact been uniquely able to perceive whites culture objectively and to understand and criticize their means of oppression.…… [Read More]
Known as the "artistic sister of the Black Power movement," Black Arts refers to the collective expressions of African-American culture during the 1960s and 1970s. Corresponding with the climax of the Civil Rights movement and the self-empowerment of the African-American community, the Black Arts was a politically charged yet aesthetically ripe collection of visual, performance, music, and literary art forms. Amiri Baraka is credited widely with the genesis of the Black Arts movement. The assassination of Malcolm X is said to have inspired Baraka to move to Harlem and delve into the transformative power of art for emboldening the black community (Salaam). Even when he was still known as LeRoi Jones, Baraka had been involved in the publishing industry, and had worked as a poet, arts critic, and playwright. His founding of the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School (BARTS) is the "formal beginning" of the movement, which Baraka himself…… [Read More]