Claude Brown?s novel, Manchild in the Promised Land, is not only a story about one mans struggle to find freedom and intellectual happiness, but a story about his discovery of his own inherent strengths and abilities. Throughout the novel, he progresses from compliance to independence, from invincibility to harsh reality, and from self-doubt to dignity. Aided by intuitive mentors and his shrewd judgement, Sonny breaks free from the vicious cycle of drugs and temptation that plagues Harlem and those closest to him. He escapes with greater understanding of where his misplaced generation belongs.
At the precocious age of six, Sonny delves into a lifestyle of stealing, lying, and playing hookey with his ten-year-old cronies. He learns to be independent at this young age due to the hostile environment; basic commodities are scarce, his father regularly ?beats the devil? out of him, and his mother persists in her position as the sole caregiver in the family. The overall dismal aura stems from Sonny and his family being disillusioned victims of what should have been. Originally scraping a living as sharecroppers in the South, they followed a ray of hope from the North, which promised unlimited opportunities, bathrooms, electricity, running water, and essentially
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