How does someone become an addict? They tried something out, maybe to have a little fun, maybe to escape some reality. Then the high was so intense they decide to try it again. Perhaps they get to the point where all they want to do is feel that high. Eventually life becomes too dull, or just too painful to deal with, so they start itching for their next fix. Some get to the point where they trade anything for it. They give up their money, health, and even loved ones to feed that addiction. However that’s not where the cost ends. In Sonny’s Blues, James Baldwin portrays the issues one has when coping with a loved ones addiction. The first step is recognizing the loved one has a problem. In the beginning of the story the narrator is struck by a report in the news paper. He said “I read it, and I couldn’t believe it, and I read it again.” (Baldwin 93). An addict attempts to keep their problems unknown and this was the first he had heard of his brother in ages. The narrator didn’t want to believe his brother had fallen down such a dark hole. He saw all the signs and odd behavior, but still convince himself nothing was wrong. When one loves another their faults are harder to find, one will ignore flaws in favor of viewing them in the best light. His blinding love kept him from seeing the path Sonny was headed down. “I hadn’t wanted to know” (93) he stated. He witnessed the steady spiral downwards but chose to ignore it. The sad reality is the more one loves, the blinder they
In James Baldwin short story "Sony's Blue" he uses music to represent Sonny's struggle with his addiction to heroin. Throughout the story, music was present whenever Sonny's addiction was mentioned. When Sonny first told his brother that he wanted to play jazz music for a living he mentioned that Charlie Parker was one of his inspirations, this is interesting because Charlie Parker was a drug addict who died from his addiction. This also seemed like it took place around the time that Sonny started abusing drugs with the goal of completely focusing on playing the piano. At the end of the story, Sonny talked to his brother about how he felt while he was taking heroin.
He hasn’t seen his brother in about a year, but as he is walking out of his school he notices a familiar face and it turns out being one of his brother’s old friend. The old friend spoke to the narrator about how hard Sonny’s struggle is now and how it will still be a struggle later. The narrator went
Sonny also started to hear voices in his head. The voices were made out to be angry and critical toward him. Throughout his life he had always been a loner who never had any friends. When Sonny turned 16, he realized that he was homosexual. His father had been accepting of his sexuality while his mother often referred to him with pejorative labels, such as “fag.”
Many of the characters in “Sonny’s Blues” face battles within themselves. The characters fight the battle of trying to keep the light shining inside and to not let the darkness inhabit them. “Images of light and darkness are used by Baldwin to illustrate his theme of man’s painful quest for an identity” (Murray
Throughout the story Sonny’s Blue, there are many different symbols that represent different things, with the disparate functions. Light and darkness are the two universal symbols of Sonny’s Blues. Light has usually conveyed the goodness, hope, and purity of life. In the other hand, darkness performs for death, tragedy, and negativity.
James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" analyzes a very complex relationship between the narrator and his brother, Sonny. Before directing to the attention of the relationship between these two brothers, we have to first understand the personality of each character. Initially, the narrator has a stable job as a hardworking math teacher and makes an effort to assimilate himself to his surroundings, but has never comprehended his brother, Sonny. Sonny is the complete opposite of the narrator. Sonny separates from his brother to become a Blues musician, though becomes addicted to drugs, such as heroin, in order to control his own feelings.
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues Lesson: Read 1. How does Baldwin's real-life experience connect to his short story, "Sonny's Blues"? Read Baldwin's biography for more background on his life. - 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.
After hearing that his younger brother, Sonny, has been put in jail due to drug use, he remembers his childhood, and how they both never did really get along. Both Sonny and the narrator feel a sense of “darkness outside”, and this “darkness” is what creates the miscommunication between the brothers (Baldwin 338). Sonny changed his normality due to not being noticed during his childhood, and the drastic change causes the older brother to feel uncomfortable seeing his brother, because Sonny told him that “he was dead as far as [he] was concerned” (351). Their struggles caused them to lose contact, and to slowly build that invisible barrier between their
In James Baldwin's short story, Sonny’s Blues, the reader should understand and visualize the historical context in order to understand the world being presented. The reader has to comprehend the harsh life of a male African-American who struggles with his dreams and drug addiction sometime around early 1957. I will discuss Baldwin's writing style, the life/value of an african american's life during this time, and the relationship between Sonny and his brother. Baldwin’s short story illustrates the hardships a person faces while searching for themselves in a world full of people or obstacles that stand in their way. Some of these obstacles are self inflicted, present from the beginning of their existence or appear as though they are random.
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).
Belonging to a specific community means that laws cannot be broken regardless of the circumstances because the consequences followed can be extremely brutal. In “Sonny’s Blues,” it is present that society is not on his side because he has broken one of the laws by doing drugs. Doing drugs is one of the many ways an individual’s deals with certain situations because they are believing the drugs will take the pain away. They also believe that by doing drugs, it will leave them into having complete control of everything, but in reality, the drug is taking over which makes a person act out of character even though they believe they are at a normal state of mind. The readers can make the prediction that Sonny has a problem in his life and that the only way he believes that he can fix it is by going straight to drugs.
Sonny Blues Paul Pearshall once said “Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted”. In this story the conflict of responsibility takes place. A brother, who happens to be the narrator, blames his self for the events that takes place in his life, such as his brother sonny’s crack addiction. The Narrator feels responsible for his brother’s heroin addiction because he believed he shut his brother’s career goals down, felt as though he went against what his mother asked him to do, and because he chose not to believe that the way he treated his brother affected his brother life.
There are multiple ways that this can be seen, through the narrator and Sonny, the artist. In the beginning, of the story it paints a picture of Sonny as “his face had been bright and open” but later states that “I couldn’t believe it: … …… all that light in his face gone out” showing that through development of character the hardships these brothers have gone through drove Sonny into doing something he regretted. Later it shows that Sonny has grown while in prison becoming reserved and quiet, the only place that the
James Baldwin is a renowned author best known for his work of essays, books and short stories, particularly those which dwell deeply into important social and psychological issues of discrimination, gender inequality, homophobia and so on. One of Mr. Baldwin 's most appreciated literary works is the short story 'Sonny 's Blues ' which focuses on two brothers who grew up together but take different paths in life. The story follows the narrator learning about his brother Sonny 's incarceration due to the use and selling of drugs until his brother gets parole. Throughout the story, we learn about the relationship between the pair and are able to witness the narrators ultimate understanding of Sonny and his ambition. As we continue to observe the impressive short story, we find the most recurring theme to be that of sorrow.
In James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” the author uses Sonny’s struggle for a redeemed life to push the narrator toward the realization of his own need for rescue; through this realization, the narrator can find his identity and be free from his sadness. The narrator needs rescuing from himself. He hides behind a curtain of denial trying to protect himself from emotional reality. The narrator struggles to understand when and how Sonny began his troubles with drug addiction; he does not understand where he went wrong in being a role model for his younger brother. Now, years later the narrator is a school teacher who is trying to be a role model for the young boys in his class.