Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Although Sonia Sanchez has worked in several genres, poetry is her primary craft; “After Saturday Nite Comes Sunday” might then best be considered an autobiographical prose poem, for her childhood years were spent in a New York tenement, where drug addiction was an everyday reality. In her essay “Ruminations/Reflections,” she asserts that “the poet is a creator of social values.” The story, without recourse to blunt didacticism, addresses from “a Black woman’s view of the world” the struggle to avert the breakdown of the black family in the social context of white oppression.

The story’s opening clarifies that context when Sandy is confronted by “that undersized/low expectation of niggahs/being able to save anything” at the bank. When she discovers that Winston is responsible for the missing money, she must confront not only his drug addiction but also the legacy of his frustrated dreams, “like some childhood disease,” which have culminated in heroin fantasies from an early age. Those fantasies, based on the fear of failure and a sense of hopelessness, have led to drug-related crime, conviction, and prison—metaphors for being born black, for racism, and for exclusion. Having served his sentence, Winston remains criminally irresponsible and unemployed: He has confirmed the white stereotype of prejudice, which ignores the fact that he has grown up in a society that discriminated against him both legally and socially.


(The entire section is 545 words.)