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Escape: A Comparison between Huck and the narrator of "Sonny's Blues"

Uploaded by Admin on Sep 07, 2000

Both the narrator in “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin and Huck in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain feel the urge to escape from their reality as a means of attaining happiness and finding their way in life. However, their reasons for escaping are completely different and so are the ways in which they manage to do so. The aim of this essay is, therefore, to discuss the how and why the Narrator in “Sonny’s Blues” and Huck escape.

We will start by briefly looking into both characters’ backgrounds in order to be able to understand the reasons and circumstances that led them to escape. First, it is worth mentioning that while “Sonny’s Blues” takes place in New York in the mid 20th century, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is mostly set in the Mississippi River (as it runs deep into the south) before the American Civil War in the mid 19th century. Despite the fact that the Narrator in “Sonny’s Blues” and Huck belong to different places and times, both societies in which they live are plagued with discrimination against black people who are regarded as second class citizens having to endure violence and injustices from the white community . Both characters belong to low social class families. However, the Narrator in “Sonny’s blues” is a black middle aged, well educated man who has a family whereas Huck is a white child of about 12 years of age who is uneducated and does not have a family. Pap, the village drunkard and Huck’s only blood bond, is an absent parent who only comes back to town when he learns that his son has become rich.

Given a short account of their social backgrounds, it is not surprising that they be driven by different urges to escape the situation in which they are. On the one hand, the Narrator in “Sonny’s Blues” is evidently trying to escape the black people’s burden which is illustrated in the following excerpt: “ So we drove along [...] killing streets of our childhood. These streets hadn’t changed, though a housing project jutted up out of them now like rocks in the middle of a boiling sea. Most of the houses in which we had grown up had vanished, as had the stores from which we had stolen, the basements in which we had first tried sex, the rooftops from which we had hurled tin...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   09/07/2000

Category:   The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

Length:   4 pages (800 words)

Views:   2076

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