Short Stories and Great Expectations

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Short Stories Exam Essay
Short stories are entertaining tales, not very high in details, about an assortment of people, places, events, etc. While reading the short stories, I found that the main characters, the narrator of “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, Leroy in “Shiloh” by Bobbie Ann Mason and Julia in “Country Husband” by John Cheever, all experienced their worlds through different scenarios that caused isolation throughout their story. Isolation consists of a character, or person, taking themselves into their own world and how they want to see it. Personally, I isolate myself from having fun with friends to go into my room, with complete silence, to do my homework in a relaxing environment. Sonny experiences his life with immature control over his brother, Leroy experiences his life as an outcast, and Julia experiences his life in frustration. All of these characters lack confidence, within their lifestyles, that eventually leads to isolation. In the story “Sonny’s Blues, the unnamed narrator shows his life with an immature control over his brother Sonny. After losing contact with his brother, and later, the death of his daughter, the narrator decides to contact his drugged-out brother Sonny in prison. The narrator then goes into the Army and comes back for their mother’s funeral and the narrator reminisces on a promise he made to his mother to look after his brother; this is where his naïve control over his brother begins. As they talk at the funeral, Sonny reveals his aspirations to become a jazz pianist which is immediately dismissed by his brother. Sonny is then sent to his sister-in-law’s family’s house to go to college but after the family’s hard time with all his practice and skipping school repeatedly to play piano, Sonny leaves and joins the Navy. After his return, the brothers fight and don’t see each other for an extended amount of time, until Sonny comes home and invite his brother to his concert. The brothers unite and find that music brought them together after lacking such confidence in what they needed in life.

In “Sonny’s Blues”, the narrator shows his isolation throughout living in the streets of Harlem. Although he has a family, he is frightened by what happens and where he lives. He does not express going outside or socializing with many people. The narrator tells the audience that he is in isolation by not contacting his brother for so long. He states, “I gave up. I decided, if he didn’t change his mind, that we could always talk about it later.” The narrator shows us that he had little feelings for his brother when things were rough. I think that the narrator lacked confidence within contacting his brother and exploring the life of Harlem. He tells us that his relationship with his brother was not good, and I believe it is because he gave up on him. After the loss of his daughter, he lacks confidence in all aspects of society. He not only lacked confidence in contacting his brother, he also isolated himself from wanting to change. I think that if the narrator had more confidence, he would’ve changed his brother’s situation much earlier in the story. The moral of the story would’ve changed to prolonging the relationship with his brother, instead of making up for lack thereof.

In the story “Shiloh,” the main character, Leroy, views his life as an outcast. After working his whole life as a truck driver, Leroy was always on the road driving his truck, only stopping at home for a few days before leaving again. However, after seriously injuring his leg, Leroy is forced to stop driving his truck and begins his life as a stay-at-home husband and begins to view life as an outsider. He realizes that he doesn’t know his wife very well and they share many awkward moments because they have run out of things to talk about. He develops the idea to build his wife a log cabin, an idea that absolutely repulses her, and eventually leads to her leaving their relationship. Leroy shows...
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