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Professor Gerzanics19 March 2019English 1ALife In James Baldwin’s short story, “Sonny Blues” there is a continuous theme of light and dark. Baldwin uses this theme throughout the story to focus on the struggles, the narrator and his brother Sonny’s grapple within life and how they are able to overcome them. In the story, the darkness shows the conflicts and hardship that each character faces. Sonny has a drug addiction and is trying to find himself while the narrator faces the guilt of his brother's choices. The light represents the characters reaching a new state of mind and leaving their suffering behind them. Both men start the story with darkness in their lives but along their journey, they find the right path that leads them to their own individual happiness and manage to form a healthy relationship.From the outside, it appears the narrator lives his life in the light as he is married, has a family, and a steady job. Just like you can’t judge a character by its book, the narrator’s life isn’t as happy as it appears on the outside as he attempts to come to terms with the path that Sonny has chosen to take without feeling that he should have helped him make better ones.The story begins with the narrator on the subway reading the newspaper to find that his brother, Sonny, had been arrested and put in jail. Baldwin writes, "I stared at it in the swinging light of the subway car, and in the faces and bodies of the people, and in my own face, trapped inthe darkness which roared outside" (Baldwin 17). This is significant because it shows the darkness that is around the narrator and sets the mood for the story. The narrator is not in any badsituations himself but is surrounded by people who have made bad choices. The narrator feels trapped in the darkness of his brother's actions of getting addicted to heroin and going to jail as
he feels like he should have been there to support and get his brother back on the right track.