Because it is not limited by fact, proof or dimension, fiction can focus on fundamental truths to a much greater degree as only those elements that speak to that truth need be used. The reader is then guided through a targeted message, where numerous elements combine to suggest the underlying nature of human existence. This capacity to reveal human nature within fiction is especially helpful when attempting to depict various ways of life, or aspects of social culture. Quality fiction, regardless of when it was written or the length of the written text, can reveal significant aspects of human nature and thus reveal us to ourselves as we identify various elements of the story with our everyday lives. Literature such as James Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues” illuminates the way in which the unique sounds of the black neighborhood serves as a sort of life-raft to the multi-faceted melody of the soul, symbolizing how individuals are different and communicating the extreme importance and value of listening.
James Baldwin spent most of his adult life living in France, but is widely recognized as an essentially American writer. Having been born and raised in New York’s Harlem district, he was intimately familiar with the sights and sounds that appeared in his stories even though he’d put an entire ocean between them. Born in 1924 to an unmarried woman placed a stigma on his head that would continue to haunt him and cause friction between himself and his adoptive father, David Baldwin (Leeming, 1994). Although seen to attempt following the straight and narrow course outlined for him by his father in becoming a Pentecostal preacher at age 14, by the time he was 17 Baldwin had moved to the artist’s neighborhood of Greenwich Village and was beginning his writing career (Leeming, 1994). Inequality and hatred for his race and sexuality drove Baldwin to seek a more forgiving community and he moved to France, a move that would