February 27, 2012
A Summary of Donald C. Murray's “ Jame's Baldwin's 'Sonny's Blues': Complicated and Simple” Donald Murray, in “Complicated and Simple”, talks about how the author is emphasizing “man's need to find his identity” as the main issue society as well as Sonny and his brother are dealing with throughout the story. The area of Harlem with all its negative influences tend to affect its children's upcoming. Either to take the difficult route of finding one's self or to fall in the drug trap of Harlem “ it's simpler to submerge oneself, at the most dismal level, the limbo of drug addiction, rather than to truly find oneself” ( Murray 353). Murray sheds light on Baldwin's use of light and darkness in the story to exemplify “man's painful quest for identity” ( Murray 354). In many cases Baldwin uses this imagery to draw an emphasizing image of his theme in the story. In multiple areas of the story Baldwin mentions light and darkness such as the subway encounter with one of Sunny's friends and the waitress at the pub. “All they knew were two darknesses,the darkness of their lives, which was now closing in on them , and the darkness of the movies, which had blinded them to that other darkness (Baldwin 328). This excerpt from the story is one of the main examples of the use of darkness and light in the story. As can be seen here darkness is representing the bitter reality that is consuming the people living in Harlem. Yet they try to somewhat escape this by watching a movie which is ironically another darkness that is only taking their attention or entertaining them until the main darkness consumes them. Another interesting use of this method of theme application which Murray stated is the scene where the family is sitting together. “There is no escape from the darkness for Sonny and his family. Dreams and aspirations are always dispelled, the narrator comments, because someone will always 'get up and turn on...
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