Darkness and Light in "Sonny's Blues"
In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues," the abundance of darkness reveals the beauty of light. Despite how uncomfortable and painful it is to be in the dark, the main character, Sonny empowers himself by stepping into the light and incorporating his dark experiences into his passion of music. The darkness represents the destitution that is faced everyday on the harsh streets of Harlem. These streets are ridden with the reality of drugs and crime and these wrongdoings are almost impossible for adolescents to break away from. Sonny, a struggling jazz musician, finds himself to be a victim to the streets of Harlem. He finds that heroin is the only way he can express his artistic and creative potential while shying away from reality. However, his experience with darkness led him to the light. Sonny attempts to step in the light when he rejects drugs from his life to advance his passion for jazz music. Light and darkness are deliberate metaphors used by Baldwin to convey the message of truth and reality, as well as the hardships of adversity.
In the beginning of the story, the narrator symbolizes darkness with a negative connotation when he mentions "the swinging light of the subway car, and in the faces and...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 931 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7469 literature essays, 2114 sample college application essays, 310 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in