Sonny’s Blues: “Dark & Light”
Sonny’s Blues is a story of the complicated relationship between two brothers, and the struggles they face within themselves. Sonny is the narrator’s younger brother whom can be described best as artistic, charismatic, and a heroin addict. Though he is all of these things, his true purpose is to have his brother understand and truly “listen” to him. The narrator is the opposite of Sonny for he has chosen a more respectable way of living as an algebra teacher, and can be described best as someone who is cautious and more simplistic in lifestyle choices. The narrator I believe wants the best for his brother but has false expectations of what he thinks Sonny should be, rather than accept him for who he is. Their relationship and feelings are shown through symbolism throughout the story, which include light and dark. These symbols all transcend to the climax of the story when the narrator finally “listens” to Sonny and there is an understanding between the two brothers. These symbols of light and dark and show how each come together to show the overall relationship and feelings of the brothers.
Dark is one of the first symbols to appear in the story. The story opens up with the narrator reading about Sonny being arrested in the paper, with his reaction being that of disbelief:
“I READ ABOUT IT in the paper, in the subway, on my way to work. I read it and I couldn’t believe it, and I read it again. Then perhaps I just stared at it, at the newsprint spelling out his name, spelling out the story. I stared at it in the swinging lights of the subway car, and in the faces and bodies of the people, and in my own face, trapped in the darkness which roared outside. (Chartres, 58)”
The darkness that is spoken upon in this passage perhaps represents the uncertainty that awaits people in the narrator’s neighborhood. It may also represent the narrator’s uncertainty of his feelings toward Sonny, because it...