All That Jazz Essay

725 words - 3 pages

All That Jazz

The 1920's were an era of jazz, drugs, and booze. Many youths were caught in the embellished lifestyle that these societal sins promised, yet disappointed in its inability to fill their emptiness. The theme of "Sonny's Blues", by James Baldwin, is the emotional darkness that fills the narrators family not only from Sonny's drug use, but also from the unfortunate events that plague the family. Baldwin uses strong imagery to depict the darkness in the family's lives.

Baldwin consistently uses images of shadows to show the despair the narrator is in over Sonny's ruin. The narrator "[does not] want to believe that [he would] ever see [Sonny] going down, coming to nothing, all ...view middle of the document...

The narrator, when returning to his family's neighborhood, sees the new houses that have been built and describes them as "houses exactly like the houses of [his] past . . . [and] boys exactly like the boys [he had once] been . . . came down into the streets for light and air and found themselves encircled by disaster. Some escaped the trap, most didn't . . ." (47). The boys try to escape the dullness of their daily lives by turning to the streets, but instead are caught up in the world of drugs and jazz. He sees these youths, and is reminded of the way Sonny must have been drawn to the streets. The narrator remembers being a little boy in the company of adults, and realizing "the darkness coming, and the darkness in the faces frighten the child obscurely. When the light fills the room, the child is filled with darkness . . . he's moved just a little closer to that darkness outside . . . it's what the old folks have been talking about . . . what they've come from . . . what they endure . . ." (48-49). The narrator remembers being afraid of...

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