Usually, when we read something for English class, the text would always be in the most difficult English language. It would be hard for young adults to understand and really take it the meaning of these works. Looking at the readings that we did over the semester so far, they have all been very interesting. The readings that captured my mind were “The Dead” by James Joyce and “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin.
These readings really bring out the word “love.” Both readings involve some sort of feeling that was regretful and missed. People are always saying that we should never live with regret because it will prevent us from moving forward. Sometimes we just have to forgive and forget instead of holding on to the only thing that is holding us back. For a reading to be a “great” work, it must be relatable and realistic. People want to know that they are not the only ones going through tough times, and that they are able to overcome them. Joyce writes about the time Gabriel found out about his wife’s ex-lover and how he feels that he would never be able to give her the same love she had with her ex. All people can do is compare themselves to others. There is that stigma in people that they have to beat whoever is in their proximity to feel empowered, especially in relationships. Both partners can be sensitive to the mention of each other’s exes. It’s a matter of what if I am not good enough or what if I don’t make him/her feel as happy as the ex. All these are insecurities that could be brought to yourself, it will make you paranoid and doubt the relationship.
It is better to focus on what the relationship is at the moment instead of dwelling on the past and the “what ifs”. Gabriel was very ignorant when it came to his knowledge of things. He thought he had everything but later to find out that he might not even have his wife’s heart. Whatever happened with his wife and her ex-lover was all in the past, it shouldn’t matter. More importantly, they should focus and what they have now and the future they have together. It is not healthy for either side to dwell on the past because it drags you down, pulling you from moving on.
Baldwin’s reading was about the blame that the character feels for the cause of his younger brother Sonny’s mistakes. When there is family involved, there seems to be a big responsibility toward the character. The mother left the older brother to take care of Sonny, but whatever he does, it never seems to fit well with the life his brother wanted for him. When parents are not in the picture of a child’s growing up, the sibling has to take the weight for the family. As an older sibling, you want the best for your younger siblings because you don’t want them to miss out on the good the world has to offer. Sonny wanted to do things like join the navy or become a jazz pianist, but his brother didn’t agree with those things that he did. Music was something that Sonny really enjoyed; it was what brought him happiness. His brother didn’t like it because thought it was not a serious job or a life that would be stable to support him. It wasn’t until his brother went to the jazz bar to listen to him play music and see that he was truly happy with what he was doing. His brother blames himself for assuming all these things about Sonny. He should’ve supported him from the beginning. He feels like he has failed as a brother for not realizing the things that make Sonny happy. But it didn’t matter, as he found what makes Sonny happy, he should take that and develop a better relationship with him now.
Relationships are always complicated. People never let go of what they had in the past resulting in blame on themselves or others. I had a distrusting relationship where I didn’t want to dive into that suspicion afraid of what might happen. And when that relationship ended, it was hurtful, and it resulted in blame. I questioned why it couldn’t have been a better relationship, thinking of many ways I could’ve prevented what I thought would happen from happening. For months after, I was in a state of blame toward myself and that other person. How could they have done this to me and how I did I do this to mysel? Time goes by and that blame slowly fadeds. It was blame that was pushing down on me and it was time to let go. There is no point in dwelling on the past. Instead you should focus on the present and all the good things that are yet to come.