Allusions In Sonny's Blues

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Music has been present in the lives of early humans beginning as early as 700 BCE with percussion sounds. These percussion sounds used religious ceremonies and for rituals were a form of expression for these early human settlements. Today, music remains an expression of different cultures and human emotion. In Sonny’s Blues, James Baldwin employs music, specifically blues music, to express the emotions and inner suffering of his characters. Blues can be described as very soulful, most melodies pull at the soul and evoke a deeper emotion. Blues music, whether wordless or not, helps listeners form a deep personal connection with the music and feel the pain and and suffering of the performance. The musicians music allows for their pain to be relieved even if it is a temporary relief. Baldwin expresses the sorrow in the low points and joy in the high points in Sonny’s battle with drug addiction while also relating music to biblical allusions and darkness through the use of the music in Sonny’s Blues.
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Within Sonny’s Blues there are many biblical allusions made. Of these allusions, the Fall (from grace) and the suffering of Jesus Christ are prevalent in the text. James Baldwin not only used wordplay to complete these allusions but also small amounts of symbolism. The death of the narrator’s daughter, conveniently named Grace, triggers the narrator's rekindling of his relationship with his brother. The death of his only daughter causes something within the narrator to change. The narrator experiences a “Fall from Grace” that allows him to come into contact with his brother’s reality. The trouble the narrator experiences with his “fall from Grace,” made his brother’s trouble real (14). It is through the narrator's own suffering that he begins to relate to his brother on a personal level where their age difference could not come in between because they were both human, they both knew pain
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