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Sonny's Blues

             James Baldwins's "Sonny's Blues" is the account of two brothers who grow up in Harlem in New York City. The two brothers lead very different lives, but share a common bond through their pain and suffering. The suffering and the pain of life is what truly brings them together as brothers. The story also explores the trials and tribulations of growing up in a society where socioeconomic and racial barriers hold down black people.
             The story begins as Sonny's older brother is ridding the subway to work and reads in the paper that Sonny is in jail for heroin. This sets up the groundwork for the rest of the story. It follows Sonny and his brother after Sonny gets out of jail. During that time Sonny's older brother reflects on his past and his life as it is. The theme is the central meaning or message that the author wishes to convey to the audience. In "Sonny's Blues" the theme of loss and suffering resonates throughout the story. Sonny's older brother loses his baby girl to polio when Sonny is in jail. Sonny suffers from his addiction to drugs and the perils that come with that. Through their pain and losses the two brothers are brought together for the first tie in their lives. The pain gives them something to connect to each other through. .
             A metaphor is a direct comparison of two abstract ideas. The story of Sonny and his brother is merely a metaphor about the racial and socioeconomic limitations placed on black people, and how they try to escape the pain and suffering of those limitations. Throughout the story, Baldwin shows how these inequalities affect people. As Sonny's older brother is observing some young children play outside, he realizes that "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"(41). This metaphor is indicative of how the black populations of America at the time are living under restrictions that stopped them from achieving their full potential.

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