Sweet Town by Toni Cade Bambara

Sweet Town - Toni Cade BambaraIn Sweet Town by Toni Cade Bambara we have the theme of connection, loss, coming of age, freedom and letting go. Taken from her Gorilla, My Love collection the story is narrated in the first person by a woman called Kit who is looking back on the summer of her fifteenth year. Immediately the reader senses that Kit likes adventure. She leaves messages for her mother who replies with funny responses. Something which helps connect Kit to her mother more than ever. The summer that Kit faces isn’t full of hardship. It is full of romance with B.J. who becomes the narrator’s first sexual partner? However there is going to be a sense of loss in Kit’s life. She will lose B.J and Eddie, who she blames for B.J.’s departure.

This loss is no more evident than when B.J. is throwing pebbles at Kit’s bedroom window. He has come to tell Kit that he is leaving town with Eddie and that he won’t be back. Oddly enough Kit isn’t asked to go with B.J. nor does she offer to do so. This may be significant as Kit despite wanting to leave the town may actually be very happy in the position she finds herself in. She has a good relationship with her family, with B.J. and things are running smoothly for her. If anything B.J. is in control of the situation she finds herself in. She has overcome the initial difficulties one might encounter when first having sex. She has learnt to enjoy it for what it is. Also the fact that B.J. doesn’t ask Kit to go with him suggests he is not as serious about Kit as she is about him.

There may also be some symbolism in the story which might be important. B.J. in reality represents freedom to the narrator. His actions are copied by Kit and Eddie and he very much leads the way forward in the narrator’s life. That is until B.J. drops the narrator altogether. The fact that Kit blames Eddie for B.J. wanting to leave may also have some symbolical significance. It is possible that she does not wish to take responsibility for the fact that her relationship with B.J. is over. The playing by the fire hydrant also acts as symbolism or foreshadowing. Leading the reader to the point where B.J. actually leaves the narrator and her life changes.

The end of the story is interesting as the reader realises just how difficult things are for Kit. She cannot let go of B.J. and imagines herself roaming from town to town looking for him and Eddie. Hoping that people might be able to point her in the direction in whereby she will find B.J. again. This may be important as the narrator is unable to let go of B.J. though in the final paragraph of the story Kit understands that she has been forced to forget about B.J. That her relationship with him was just part of her coming to age.

Cite Post
McManus, Dermot. "Sweet Town by Toni Cade Bambara." The Sitting Bee. The Sitting Bee, 26 Feb. 2022. Web.

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