Comparing the Similarities and Differences in the Symbols and Characters in “Sonny’s Blues” and “A Dolls House”

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Updated: Aug 18, 2023
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The narrative titled Sonny’s Blues created by James Baldwin, and also the play A Doll’s Residence created by Henrik Ibsen, have numerous similarities and differences when it comes to settings, symbols, as well as characters. Although they might feel like 2 completely different works, they have a lot more resemblances than expected. James Baldwin as well as Henrik Ibsen utilize their protagonist to express an idea of breaking devoid of a limiting culture to achieve real happiness. Being limited by the duties they play in culture, the main characters try to break devoid of conventional societal assumptions to understand the world of the unknown by themselves.

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Using the point by factor approach, a better understanding of the resemblances as well as distinctions in between these 2 works will certainly be achieved.

Mid-twentieth century Harlem, a time and also location of racial injustice, hardship, as well as discrimination, is the setup chosen for the short story Sonny’s Blues. Initially of the tale, Sonny and his household are trapped in the ghetto because of the shade of their skin, revealing readers that they are not in harmony. Due to the situations of this time, the lead character Sonny has an extremely tiny point of view on the globe that he resides in. Because of the restrictions that society develops for people of color, Sonny drops the wrong path as well as loses himself. Sonny’s sibling clarifies “Yet, when he grinned, when we show hands, the baby sibling I ‘d never recognized kept an eye out from the midsts of his private life, like a pet waiting to be coaxed right into the light (189 ).” Sonny’s brother clarifies that although culture has actually imprisoned him, he is a prisoner in his private life also. Due to the fact that Sonny has actually spent the last few years encaged like an animal by culture, he has to realize what he requires to do to turn his life around and also launch himself from the limitations created by the globe that he is a part of.

Late-nineteenth century Norway, was not an area of racial injustice, yet instead social oppression. Although this was a time where ladies we’re dealt with unjustly as well as had little to no say crazes, the play starts with the characters agreeing since it is Xmas time. This is a time that signifies family, birth, and also sacrifice. Although this should be a time of rejoicing with family members, Nora is entraped by the limitations her husband and also society place on her. Without any income due to the fact that females were not permitted to operate at this time around, Nora deals with obstacles on her very own to conquer this tragic time.

Music plays a significant role in the way Sonny reshapes his outlook on life. Sonny opts for a path of becoming a musician to express himself in a way that society cannot confine. Sonny’s brother elucidates Sonny’s fervor for music when he says, “For, while the tale of how we survive, and how we are enchanted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always needs to be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness” (194). Sonny perceives music as a symbol of redemption that liberates him from all his past mistakes and grants him genuine joy, lending an allusion of biblical reference to the readers. Sonny longs for salvation and aspires to rid his life of the neighborhood’s manipulation.

Ibsen presents the symbol of a doll to augment the readers’ understanding of the central character, Nora. Living in a household with a husband and three children, Nora is assumed not to work since that is deemed a male’s responsibility. Her doll-like existence, always being moved around by her husband and ancestors, prevents her from becoming an individual.

Nora, the spouse of a relatively affluent man, bears a sacrificial role filled with bias and discrimination due to her gender. There are several instances where Nora faces constraints merely based on the fact that she is a woman. The first discrimination instance occurs when Krogstad demands a male’s signature for a loan, even though Nora is the one indebted. Despite this, she is resolute and determined to repay the loan, even if she must keep it concealed from her husband. Nora explicates her role in life when she states, “I have been performing tricks for you Torvald. That’s how I’ve survived. You wanted it like that. You and Papa have done me great wrong. It’s because of you that I’ve made nothing of my life” (229), indicating how society sees men as the authoritative partner in marriage. This enlightens the readers that Nora understands how she has been existing to gratify her husband, yet has neglected to attain genuine happiness in her life. Standing up against societal discriminatory views of women, Nora’s audacity permits her to leave her husband and cease her doll-like existence in order to discover her true identity. Nora forgoes her family to prevent harming them.

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Comparing the Similarities and Differences in the Symbols and Characters in "Sonny's Blues" and "A Dolls House". (2022, Dec 16). Retrieved from