Baldwin uses the plot line to show the effects of how wanting power or control can destroy ones relationship. The narrator in the story reads an article about his brother, Sonny, who has gotten into trouble with drugs. He thinks back to when Sonny and himself were growing up. His mother told him a story about his father and made him promise to never “let [Sonny] fall…no matter how evil you gets with him” (Baldwin 442). The narrator keeps this in mind and tries to sway Sonny to a path he feels is right for him. Sonny wants to go into music however the narrator feels it would be
Sonny is the main character in the story who has been through a lot in life. He wanted to be a jazz musician. After going through all the trouble, Sonny was a great musician and he loved to play music more than anything. He used music to escape from all the bad things around him. Most black people grow up in the slums and it is extremely hard to make it out of there without getting stuck on something bad. As said in the story “Some escaped the trap, most didn’t. those who got out always left something of themselves behind, as some animals amputate a leg and leave it in the trap” (Baldwin pg. 129). Both the narrator and sonny was able to escape the overpowering pull of Harlem in different ways. The narrator of the Sonny’s Blues was able to get out and he lived a happy life, having a family and a career while sonny got stuck and ended up doing drugs and eventually got himself arrested. The narrator was an algebra teacher. Being black in America for most people means you have to face discrimination, and live the hard life at slums. However, as time goes on, there are more and more successful African
James Baldwin’s real-life experience connects to his short story by demonstrating that in the story his father had passed away when he was a young age. In real life, he didn’t even know his father. So this makes his real- life experience connect so closely to the story he had written. He experienced loss in real life along with in his story. In the story, the narrator had also lost his daughter to polo, although he didn’t exactly explain his feelings, he showed that it did affect him. Which makes me think that maybe Baldwin was the type of person to hide his feelings and act tough even though things affected him. He tried not to dwell on things, but realize that he can feel
James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” is a short story depicting the relationship of two brothers, Sonny and an unnamed narrator. The story takes place in the project of Harlem, New York in the early 1950s. The narrator is a high school math teacher. His younger brother Sonny is a troubled musician struggling with his addiction to drugs. Before their mother dies, she asks the narrator promise to her he’ll look after his younger brother when she is gone. Throughout the story he struggles to keep this promise. At the end of the story Sonny invites the narrator to come to a music club and hear him play, he accepts the invite. Upon arrival the narrator realizes he is in Sonny’s world. Hearing Sonny play only one set he is in awe and sends his brother a drink of scotch with milk. Sonny accepts it and gives a nod of approval to his brother across the room. In that moment the narrator finally understands Sonny’s love for music. Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” displays the theme of brotherly love to illustrate, that love can keep a family together no matter how many fights or issues there may be.
Using his writing as a form of self-expression, James Baldwin, an African American author, spent his life seeking to reveal the cruel reality of African American men. “Sonny Blues” Baldwin’s short fiction, was published in 1957 and takes place during the Harlem Renaissance. The literary work tells the story of Sonny and his brother (an unnamed narrator), as they seek to understand how to navigate the delicate and dangerous waters of familial relationships, their role in society and themselves. However, it is not until the end of the story when Sonny’s brother narrates the powerful, melodic sound of Sonny’s blues that he acknowledges his own pain. It is during his epiphany, when he finally begins to understand Sonny’s pain and the pain of every generation who came before him and after him. Baldwin’s acknowledgement as he declares, “I knew, no matter what anybody said, that the future I faced, was not the future they faced”
This character in Baldwin’s story, “Sonny’s Blues”, Sonny himself is having a battle within himself. This man deals with physical and emotional imprisonments occurring in his life making him in a sense free, but then again not. Whereas he deals with physically being locked up in prison and the other hand having his true main goal in a sense on a “hold” or even locked up for now. These prisons for this man are oppressing him from achieving what he really truly desires, he knows and has his goal in his hands, but he’s far from fully grasping onto it. Imprisonments oppress us in a very impacting way and it isn’t until we break free that we can finally breathe.
In “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin wrote a different type coming of age story. At the end of the story the narrator finally develops a new understanding for his brother, and forgives him.
In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blue's", music is characterized not only as a source of artistic expression but it also promotes communication between members within the community of Harlem, New York. After being released from prison, the narrator's brother Sonny redeems himself from his past sufferings and current frustrations through music which the narrator cannot fully understand or accept. By the end of the story, Sonny is able to convince his brother of the value that music has in transforming his frustrations into positive changes and developing new relationships. Baldwin underscores the impact that music has on many characters in the story by showing how music is used to overcome barriers, to express feelings and past experiences, and to make connections with their audiences by exposing their vulnerabilities.
In “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin uses symbols and changes in tone in the perspective of Sonny’s brother to detail how difficult it was growing up in Harlem in the 40’s and 50’s, and how to overcome the negative environment. The story is not told by Sonny because that would promote some bias, and what happens to him is better off being told by a caring family member. Sonny’s struggles can relate to everyone at some time or another, and his growth throughout the story is very motivating to its readers.
Sonny’s Blues incorporates racial frustration, self-expression, avoidance, lightness/darkness and symbolic nature of music. Baldwins descriptive mental images gives readers a sense of the time frame the characters are in. With our understanding of the setting we are able to understand how life was like in the 1940s and why the theme of racism plays a factor in these characters lives. Through this short story Baldwin manages to show pain ,and hardships and the journey that is needed to transcend from
Fictional writing is usually done just to entertain readers. Authors create stories with a little bit of point of view, while others introduce more complex plots and storylines which is incredible. When it comes to author James Baldwin’s short story Sonny’s Blues, there is more deep meaning given to the storyline and the characters. Sonny’s Blues probably has been analyzed by professors, students, and by many different people throughout time because the story has many elements. An amazing but simple story about a man and his brother that informs and entertains us about their family, drug addiction, socio economic struggles in the Black community, and the language of Jazz music.
Throughout one’s life, one tends to adapt to the traditions of their family, and gain a significant bond with their loved ones, including their siblings. However, that connection a person gains can either be diminished or forgotten due to a sense of different mindsets between family members. The two stories “The Rich Brother” by Tobias Wolff and “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin indicate that sibling rivalry occurs when each member does not understand or acknowledge their sibling’s perspective, and this builds a wall barrier between the siblings.
James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blue’s” makes great use of different literary devices throughout the story. The author utilizes conflict, symbolism, and the narrator’s point of view to give the story a deeper meaning and significance to the story. Sonny’s Blue’s is about an older brother’s relationship and differences with his younger brother, Sonny. Sonny’s ambition to become a jazz pianist points him into an opposite direction than his brother, and into a place where the common suffering is handled with drugs and music. The fundamental differences between these two brothers in their lack of understanding for each other and their gradual acceptance of one another, is presented and explained by their personal and social conflicts, what the symbolism casts upon the story,
With “Puppy” two ladies have different perspectives on how to raise their children. Saunders delivers one informative scene from each woman’s life before permitting the women to engage. As with, “Sonny’s Blues” the narrator and Sonny go through hardships after the death of their mother. “Puppy” by George Saunders and “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin switches between two perspectives of the characters. Marie and the narrator in both of the stories essentially feel that it is not worth the trouble to help out the other two characters.
James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” uses Sonny as an antagonist character to the protagonist, his eldest brother. While Sonny and his eldest brother both are the center of the stories content, Baldwin uses Sonny to represent a challenge to the narrator of the story. Through the rekindling of a brother’s relationships, Baldwin is able to depict Sonny's motivations and aspirations through his flaws, and the way in which his flaws affected his life.