Comparing Everyday Use 'And Sonny's Blues'

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RESPONSES TO SUFFERING In their stories, both Alice Walker and James Baldwin undertake the question of national and cultural identity through usage of characters and those characters' responses to their socially constructed identities. Both in ''Everyday Use'' and ''Sonny's Blues'', characters are from colonized countries, not only the land but also the culture of whose is in danger of occupancy. Both Sonny and Dee respond to their heritage but in very different ways. Whereas Sonny actually assumes his own cultural identity and struggles in it, Dee seems to assume, without noticing, the cultural identity that is created for her by the culture which tried to assimilate it in the first place. Dee lives with her mother, Mrs. Johnson, in their poor house and her father is not mentioned. As he was not there when their house burnt, apparently he was not living with them. Dee's relation to her culture seems to be constructed in school, there is no narration about her life before the burning of their house about which she seems so happy as to make her mother want to ask her…show more content…
However, in this process, he partly destructs himself, to be ''himself''. All the pain, which cannot be contained without expressing leads him to drug usage that he thinks as a youngster to be a necessity for not drowning in it. Even as an adult he seems to be confused about it but his being able to ''make it[blues] his''(Baldwin 51) in the end of the story could be seen as his victory over drugs. Both Sonny and Dee feel the hardship of being African-American in a dominantly white society. Dee in order to avoid it adopts a pretentious new identity and responses to her own culture through it. On the other hand, Sonny holds fast to his own culture and suffering with his artistic sensitivity, risking his own life in the
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