Postmodernism and Suffering in "Sonny's Blues Essay

Pages: 2 (821 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Literature

Postmodernism and Suffering in "Sonny's Blues"

The American experience is a complex one, and one with great variations depending on who is experiencing it. Still, there are common themes found among the various sub-groups of American society tat continuously tie us together as a nation. Postmodernist themes are often found in contemporary literature, especially in the context of minority literature, which is expressing a very complex racial hierarchy and how it affects the people forced to live within it. This is the basic structure of James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues," as the story presents a postmodernist theme of how suffering has shaped the contemporary American experience.

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The story itself is much deeper and abstract that the tenants of realism, as seen in Mark Twain's "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." Here, the story, written in the late nineteenth century, deals only with the surface level actions and behaviors of the characters, typical of a realist style. Twain presents Smiley as a realistic portrayal of gamblers, both past and present. He writes in a style to show how the characters would really look and act in an objective reality, without the bias or tampering of the author's hand. Thus, he portrays both the positive and negative elements of Smiley's character, as a way to illustrate a nonbiased image of him and what he represents. Here, Twain focuses on the lower classes of society, unlike Romanticism, which was obsessed with the more elite classes in American society and the fantasy life they lead. Additionally, Twain adds a great sense of humor to his realistic story to create a sort of parody for how gamblers actually lived out West during the time period.

Essay on Postmodernism and Suffering in "Sonny's Blues" the Assignment

The theme of suffering began to poke its head out in the modernist tradition, as seen in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Winter Dreams." The utopian ideals found in early modernism were soon struck down with the painful realities of the horrors of war. World War II really changed the notion of modernism, especially here in the United States. The utopian optimism turned into a critical pessimistic view of contemporary American society at the time. Fitzgerald illustrates a high degree of self-consciousness found within the writing that is critical of the very stories presented in such a modernist context

Dexter Green reaches the riches he had worked so hard for, making his story technically a successful rags to riches one. Yet, even the plushness of the elite upper classes cannot shelter the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Postmodernism and Suffering in "Sonny's Blues.  (2012, April 24).  Retrieved October 20, 2020, from

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"Postmodernism and Suffering in "Sonny's Blues."  24 April 2012.  Web.  20 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Postmodernism and Suffering in "Sonny's Blues."  April 24, 2012.  Accessed October 20, 2020.