A Comparison of John Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues and Idun and Her Apples
Novels and other works of literature are often regarded as a reflection of the society. More importantly, some writers use their works so as to criticize a certain government, kind of society, political movement, a person or a group of people. This power possessed by writers could be considered as a power no one can take away from them.
Because of these, novels and works of literature are regarded as immortal ones. In that way, their authors continue to live and also regarded as immortals.John Baldwin is one of the first African-American writers who fought for the rights of his fellow people through writing stories that reflect his thoughts regarding racism, arts, and life in particular. Two of his most famous short stories are entitled “Sonny’s Blues” and “Idun and her Apples”. The two short stories clearly show that they have similarities in terms of characters, main ideas, issues being tapped, and thoughts regarding life. Moreover, both stories reflect the personality of their author, James Baldwin, through the way or style they were written.
Because of this, “Sonny’s Blues” and Idun and her Apples” are evidently a reflection of Baldwin’s life, philosophy, and ideas. Main Idea: Human Relationships “Sonny’s Blues” tackled about the relationship between two African-American brothers who had not been in contact for a long time. While the older one grew up to be more “nomal”, the younger brother, Sonny, got involved illegal works, such as illegal distribution of heroin. On the other hand, “Idun and Her Apples” talked about the Norse mythological character Idun and her adventures being the keeper of the apples that give youth to the Norse gods.
The two seems to be different in context. While “Sonny’s Blues” seem to be more of a realistic and a historical one, “Idun and Her Apples” is a story that was derived from Norse mythology. However, although contextually different, both stories are dealing with human relationships. In “Sonny’s Blues”, Baldwin tried to explore the how family ties could affect one’s personality and outlook towards life.
For example, because of the bland relationship existing between Sonny and the narrator, both of them got the separate fate.At first, the narrator, who is Sonny’s older brother, seemed to be in-denial of his being a Black-American. He actually wanted not to be associated to them as well as to the stereotypes being thrown to them s much as possible. He tried hard in order for others to regard him as an American, and not a Black. He even aspired for his dreams, which eventually he got.
He became an algebra teacher and lived a comfortable life. On the other hand, “Idun and Her Apples” also dealt with human relationships.In this particular story, however, the relationship included human relationships with gods—a scenario accepted in mythology. However, although it was derived from mythological story, “Idun and Her Apples” still focus on how people interact with one another.
One of the human interactions that were given more emphasis was the relationship between Idun and Loki. Idun, as the keeper of the apples is already accustomed in meeting and interacting with different people, most especially the Asa, or the Norse gods.Although the interaction was mainly between human and gods, still the story reflects something about humans in general. Idun and her interaction with the Mischief god Loki represents the way human deal with other people—that is, humans are capable of being trustworthy, deceitful, and avenging when dealing with other people. They could give their trust to someone so easily but they also have the capability of avenging harshly if someone abused their trust.
In the story of “Idun and her Apples”, Loki tricked Idun in order to make the latter vanished.Through this, the Asa could not regain their youth. Idun, as described in the story as “…right attentive is she to every duty, and her words and thoughts are always worthy and wise…” (Baldwin, 1914). From this particular description, we could claim that Idun was also very trustworthy. However, she was still deceived by Loki by telling her that the apples she has been keeping are no longer fresh, saying that : “Your apples are not so good as they used to be,” said Loki, making a very wry face. Why don’t you fill your box with fresh fruit? ” This made Idun to decide to go on the faraway land that Loki pointed out to be the location of the fresher apples.
This clearly shows that human is trustworthy in nature. After Idun realized that she was deceived, she, however, turned on avenging her fate. Religious Connection Both the stories are proven to have connections to religion. For example, in “Sonny’s Blues”, the image of the cup of trembling that was originally used in the Book of Isaiah.Baldwin used the image in order to represent the sufferings that Sonny was experiencing during his time. On the other hand, ”Idun and her Apples” also has religious implications.
The fact that the story was derived from Norse mythology is already an obvious proof. Aside from this, the main character, Idun, could be associated to Eden from the Book of Genesis. If analyzed, the two women are almost sharing the same letters and sounds in their names. In addtion, the presence of the apples added to the connection being drawn between Idun and Eden.