Can "Chickamauga" and "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" be linked thematically to "Sonny's Blues" with the themes listed below?I'm exploring a thematic link between "Chickamauga" by...

Can "Chickamauga" and "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" be linked thematically to "Sonny's Blues" with the themes listed below?

I'm exploring a thematic link between "Chickamauga" by Bierce, "Where Are You Going, Where Hae You Been?" by Oates and  "Sonny's Blues" by Baldwin. I see clear themes in "Chickamauga" and "Where Are You Going" of loss of innocence, seeing things through naive eyes, and psychological terror, but I am missing seeing these themes in "Sonny's Blues."  Any suggestions? I am trying to compse a comparison and contrast essay and need the third story.

Asked on by jlwh12994

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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In "Sonny's Blues," the brothers both experience loss of innocence at a very young age because of the racism inherent in the culture they grow up in. It could easily be established that Sonny's brother had a propensity for seeing things through naive eyes as he believed assimilating through a college degree and high status job would eradicate all racism from his experience, although he does find that it is true that a good education, good job and good income go a long way toward mitigating the experience of racism and its impact, which truly does stand in stark contrast to Sonny's personal experiences.

An analysis of Sonny's character could easily establish a foundation for asserting that Sonny--and to a mitigated extent, his brother--was the victim of psychological terror in the form of drugs, negative social interactions, crime, overt racism, imprisonment, and the limits to his pursuit and practice of his music that he imposed upon himself by his life choices that rejected a higher education and a more direct form of assimilation into the white-dominated professional world of music.

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