Racial Identity in “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin
This dissertation is fundamental and very informative research that explores the representation of the topic of racial identity in “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin. Since the author also compares this short story to three significant African-American novels, it is possible to say that this source is helpful in identifying the moments that can be compared and contrasted between this story and Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal.” Overall, as noticed by Abu-Raiya, “Sonny’s Blues” plays a pivotal role in preserving the wisdom of the African-American community and perpetuates the tradition of integrating the political and social issues of the community in its literature” (8). The author states that this short but very valuable story is a specific connection between various African-American novels, including Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, which contains “Battle Royal” as the first chapter (12). Consequently, it is essential to read “Sonny’s Blues” to fully understand the topic of racism and racial identity in “Battle Royal.”
In this peer-reviewed article, the author addresses the question of how white oppression affected black people. Despite the fact that Habib examines the novel Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, his primary focus is on the first chapter, which is considered powerful enough to be a separate short story known as “Black Royal.” As noticed by Habib, the short story “portrays the plight of ‘blacks’ in America and is a testimony to the fact that the negroes feel disillusioned in a world which is dominated by the white oppressors” (48). The first chapter of the novel is an example of self-victimization and oppression; it also shows that some African Americans are actually blind to the miseries that the Whites bring on them (Habib 49). Therefore, the author of this article examines this topic from an insightful perspective.