Essay Sample: The Purloined Letter Comparing and Contrasting to Sonny's Blues

Published: 2022-05-18
Essay Sample: The Purloined Letter Comparing and Contrasting to Sonny's Blues
Type of paper:  Argumentative essay
Categories:  Edgar Allan Poe
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 910 words
8 min read

Both the short story "Sonny's Blues" (1957) and the "The Purloined Letter" (1844) discuss the theme of love. In the Sonny's Blue short story there is the theme of the obligation towards the brotherly love whereby the narrator's mother wants him to be watching Sonny and hence become his keeper. Nevertheless, the relationship between the two brothers echoes that of the biblical Cain and Abel. Cain murders Abel and asks if he is supposed to be his brother's keeper. After the death of the mother, Sonny is engaged in many activities including drug use and prison sentences (Baldwin & Jack, 13). There is constant fighting between the two brothers. The brotherly love begins once again when the narrator begins to look after his brother, and their relationship extends to the community at large. Members of the Harlem community comes together to fight the plagues in their community including poverty, drugs, and frustrations. Their coming together to watch over and protect one another provides a sense of warmth and protection to everyone, and this brings love in the community. On the other hand "The Purloined Letter" (1844) brings out the theme of love and hate which characters Poe interprets as universal emotions. The Gothic terror results from the narrator's simultaneous love for himself and hatred of his rivals. Love and hate seem inseparable as they are two intense forms of the human emotion. Poe loves himself, but at times the self-hatred feelings arise. Nevertheless, he is not deterred from pursuing his work as a "detective" to get to the basis of a problem and solve it.

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In Sonny's Blues, James Baldwin speaks of the prevalence of rage and fury to explain the internal and the external conflict that haunts the characters in the streets of Harlem. Fury and rage result from the living conditions in the streets of Harlem and the limited opportunities that come as a result of being African American. The students are aware of the limited opportunities available for them and are therefore filled with rage. Knowing this, breads an internal, destructive rage threatening to destroy the young people's lives as they turn themselves into the life of darkness as a result of anger and frustrations. Similar to this is the Edgar Allan Poe "The Purloined Letter." Despite the narrator love in his heart, in the "Tell-A-Tale," he confesses of murdering and dismembering an old man because of the evil eye from which he generates his hatred for the old man (Lee, 370). The narrator uses the alter ego to separate himself from his insanity; therefore, the alter ego rivals the self. The rage and fury in this text arise because except for the royal man, the narrator and all the other characters use their power for political, financial and personal agendas.

"The Purloined Letter" focuses on the no personal love interest, but a complete passion for solving the problems. Dupin starts to understand what is being a detective after starting to learn from actions rather than just a name. Dupin starts "detecting" cues and making correlations which is the true meaning of being a "detective" (Martin, 484). The naturalistic ways of solving crimes are the main objects used by the detectives. They employ deductive and inductive thinking and do not rely on the chance, supernatural or convenient coincidence. Sonny's Blue, on the other hand, focuses on the story of the two brothers in the streets of Harlem and the hardships in the area. The narrator's brother gets into drugs after they feel that they are struggling with their life dreams and the path they are being "forced" to take in life. This is a common struggle among most of the people during the high school stage. The young in this stage are stereotyped to be irresponsible, spoiled and selfish.

The Purloined Letter produces one specific and consistent effect in the reader which makes the plot successful. Since the letter was stolen, the reader is left in suspense considering the letter can ruin a man's life forever. Although the reader does not know the real name of the character, we know that the person is "Minister D..." (Lee, 372) the maneuver of the letter which switches from the original to fake ones increases the suspense of the reader, even more, making the story to be very intense. Only in the end does the reader understand that what has been going on and that it was all about revenge. This releases the reader tension. On the other hand, the short story Sonny's Blue is understood by the reader right from the beginning to the end because it flows in an easy and clear way (Baldwin & Jack, 3). It is easy to understand and create the mental picture of the streets of Harlem from the disruption or even the characters themselves including the narrator and his brother. It is clear to the reader that Sonny's choices are bad whenever he is trying to figure out what makes him happy. The fact that the story relates to human suffering makes it easy to relate and understand from our own experiences.

Work Cited

Baldwin, James, and Jack London. Sonny's Blues. Difusion, Centro de Investigacion y Publicaciones de Idiomas, 2010.

Baldwin, James. Sonny's blues. Ernst Klett Sprachen, 2009.

Poe, Edgar Allan, and Edward Hardwicke. The purloined letter. HarperPerennial Classics, 2013.

Lee, Maurice S. "Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)." A Companion to Crime Fiction (2010): 369-380.

Martin, Joseph D. "Prestige Asymmetry in American Physics: Aspirations, Applications, and the Purloined Letter Effect." Science in context 30.4 (2017): 475-506.

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Essay Sample: The Purloined Letter Comparing and Contrasting to Sonny's Blues. (2022, May 18). Retrieved from

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