Children are rebellious; it is part of childhood to rebel against parents or guardian. Through rebellion process, a child must go through challenge of their beliefs, enduring influences, acceptance and understanding. By analyzing characters from the stories about rebellion, I realize that one does not simply rebel to disappoint others; it is more of a misery than having an understanding of one another. In the story “Sonny’s Blue” by James Baldwin, Sonny struggle to find what he truly is and what he wants to be, with the inevitable interference of his brother’s logical approach on how he raise him.
Sonny finds himself lock between his dreams and reality that sets him off to rebel against his brother. Similarly rebellious but different in bearings, Jing Mei from “Two kinds”, by Amy Tan, is a distressed child that tries to be understood by her mother. Jing Mei is imprisoned by her mother’s high expectation that led her irresistible misbehavior towards her mother’s chain of fate to her. Rebellion does not entirely cause people a disaster, it is a battle of opposing beliefs between people, and especially children must go through this act of self-confrontation to be able to find their own selves.
Finding who we really are needs a lot of effort, through rebellion we can definitely prove to anyone what we really believe in, and for better or worse we can see what we have become. Looking for what we are and what we want to be is important and necessary phase in life and we mostly experience it during childhood. When Sonny’s brother, the narrator, confronts him with what he wants to do with his life, Sonny said that he wants to be a musician, jazz musician in particular. “and – well, yes, sure, I can make a living at it. But what I don’t seem to be able to make you understand is that it’s the only thing I want to do-“. Baldwin 17).
Sonny is disoriented on how his brother does not understand that music is the only way for him to live his life. ” you know people can’t always do exactly what they want to do-“(Baldwin17) said his brother, which is a very practical way of thinking, since he is a math teacher, he thinks it is very illogical that Sonny wants to be a musician, yet, Sonny does not understand the practicality of his brother’s belief towards him as Sonny is more of an idealist than of a realist. “I think people ought to do what they want to do, what else are they alive for? ” (Baldwin17).
At this moment, Sonny felt discourage on how his brother seems to not consider what he really likes to do in his life. Even if his brother doesn’t agree with him he really believe that being a musician is what he really likes. He somewhat follows his brother’s decision to let him stay in Isabel’s house because he was slightly pleased by the fact that he can play the piano at Isabel’s house. It was the beginning of his rebellion, his brother’s intention was to let him stay with Isabel to let him in control for awhile until he graduate but then, Sonny is stubborn and playing music is the only thing he seems to want to do.
By sticking through his desire of being musician he had gave up school, giving up his brother’s expectation and giving up other possibilities for his future. What makes us who we are is what we believe in, I believe that looking what interest us the most is the first step of finding who we are. I want to be a computer scientist to be involve in the field of computer especially in gaming industry . I had a trouble with my parent’s belief that being in gaming industry is a joke just like how Sonny’s brother react to his idealistic view.
It is normal for a child to be rebellious. There is a lot of reason why children rebel against their parent. Jing Mei refuses her mother’s desire of her being a prodigy that causes her inevitable rebellion. Even though her mother tried everything to make her try and be good at something Jing Mei disregard every effort her mother puts in to because she is not interested at all of them. “I won’t let her change me, I promised myself. I won’t be what I’m not”(Tan 123), Jing Mei was frustrated of her mother’s craze of her becoming a prodigy.
I do not think people should be doing what they don’t want to do, unfortunately children that have parents just like Jing Mei’s are really hard to handle with. Parents that has a high expectation for their children causes a lot of pressure to the child that often result in a tragedy. “So maybe I never really gave myself a fair chance. I did pick up the basic pretty quickly, and I might have become a good pianist at that young age. But I was determined not to try, not to be anybody different that I learned to play only the most ear-splitting preludes, the most discordant hymns. “(Tan 125).
Jing Mei does not want what her mother wants her to be, she just want to be herself, that is why she is rebelling even if she has a lot of potential, she does not like to be any sort of prodigy. Although she started playing and practicing the piano, she did not put all her efforts that is why she only choose to practice the beginning of the song while ignoring the rest of the piece. I had a lot of trouble with those kind of parent as well, since it is troublesome to have a parent that have high expectation and it is very disappointing to parents if their children does not met their expectation.
The only conclusion Jing Mei thought about is to go against her mother without putting any effort on what her mother ask her to do. She believes that her mother will stop trying after she fail every single thing she does. After her mother passed away, Jing Mei looks back to the piano she was practicing and notices the two parts of the song. She did not consider the fact that she had a great potential if she tried harder, which her mother clearly see. Jing Mei felt bad in the end when she reminisce her memory of her mother’s effort and disregard everything her mother did for her. Jing Mei realize what she did was not the right thing to do.
After all she was just another child that is need to be understood just like Sonny. I also felt bad that I did not met my parent’s expectation to me. I graduate high school without putting all my effort, I know could have done better. I remember the time my parents keep bugging me to take the SAT they said they will going to pay for it until I passed or get a high score. But I took it once and did not do good because I did not tried to study at all. I did not know what was going on in my mind that time maybe because I was struggling to find what I really want to be with my life.
My parents were really disappointed at me but they still encourage me to do the test over again. I did not re-take it, and it was the worse decision I ever had in my life so far. The reason why Sonny and Jing Mei rebelled is to let their feelings out by following their own beliefs. They resist influences that tries to make them a different person. To conclude the result of rebellion he or she must realize if they achieved their purpose. When Sonny’s brother finally realize his fault of not understanding his brother, he saw all of Sonny’s emotion through the music he was at the stage. “…
And Sonny, also being funny and being ceremonious, and so touched, I think, that he could have cried, but neither hiding it nor showing it, riding it like a man, grinned, and put both hands to his heart and bowed from waist”(Baldwin 28) said Sonny’s brother, while he described Sonny’s feelings. Sonny’s brother was caught off guard since Sonny’s passion made him realize that he was wrong of all the doubts he had towards Sonny. Sonny’s brother finally realized that Sonny has been trying so hard to be a good musician and he never gave up. Sonny has been troubled with his relationship with not only his brother but also the people around him.
He had a difficult life, yet, he carry on to his dreams, and did everything he can. “And, while Creole listened, Sonny moved, deep within, exactly like someone in torment. I had never before thought of how awful the relationship must be between the musician and his instrument. He has to fill it, this instrument, with the breath of life, his own. He has to make it do what he wants it to do. And a piano is just a piano… While there’s only so much you can do with it, the only way to find this out is to try; to try and make it do everything” (Baldwin 29),expressed the narrator. And the face I saw on Sonny I’d never seen before”(Baldwin 29) said the narrator while Sonny is up the stage playing the piano with full of emotion. Sonny felt his longing to perform. He was free up there and no one can stop him. It was a great success for Sonny to let his feelings out, by playing the piano, his brother finally realize what he was trying to do. I aim to do what Sonny did as well, I am sticking with my dreams and trying my best no matter what to finish what I started. I began to go college and pursue Computer Science degree on my own decision.
Although at first my parents are against it, I will show them that they were wrong and it is what I want to do with my life. Through rebellion, we can find our true nature. Should we believe with our selves or follow what others think is better for us? believing in our selves no matter what is always a good decision. Although Jing Mei regret what she did, means that the result of her rebellion was bad, but she did succeed with her rebellion. I am trying to say that purpose is important when it comes to rebellion. Like Jing Mei, I was not sure of what I am trying to be.
I did not have a purpose. But for me it was not too late to realize that I need to foresee a destination. Sonny probably only see one destination in his life, which is to be a jazz musician. He had gone through a lot of paths, good and bad, mostly bad, but his experience did helped him what he have become. So before rebelling, make sure we all know the purpose. Because the purpose makes the outcome of rebellion and in the end we see the effect of what did we really go against for. The success of Sonny or the regrets of Jing Mei it’s all about the reason of rebellion, they took over.