In the short story, “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, the theme of obligation towards brotherly love is clearly evident.
The narrator is charged with the obligation of watching over Sonny by his mother. By the mother asking the narrator to watch over Sonny, is an indication that she advocates for the need to build brotherhood between the brothers (Reilly 67). After the death of the narrator’s mother, he is left with a difficult ask of watching over the movement of Sonny as his life is marred by prison and abuse of drugs. There is a big tension between the narrator and his brother, Sonny leading to a fight where the narrator tells Sonny to consider him dead there on, a statement that alludes to the biblical narrative of Cain and Abel (Reilly 45). Just like Cain of the Bible, the narrator has turned away from helping the brother, thus violating the wishes and the direction of his late mother. However, this does not go for long, as by the end of the story we can see that the narrator has taken a full responsibility of taking care of the brother. The idea of brotherhood and love is further extended to Harlem by the members of the society. When he is stricken by poverty and frustration, the community comes to his aid.
The story, “Sonny’s Blues” uses the symbolism of light and darkness to underline the warmth, hope, gloom, and despair that marks the life of the characters. The author uses light to portray the face of Sonny when he was young and the warmth that he got by sitting with the adults in a room after church. The light show cases the element of positive and hope among the characters and the community. It also has religious implications.
On the other hand; darkness represents the roaster of social problems in life. Sonny’s negative life marred with drug addiction and imprisonment is an embodiment of darkness (Reilly 37). At the end of the novel, the light comes to be a sign of salvation, love, as the darkness signifies…