Everyone needs rescuing sometime in life? The narrator in “Sonny’s Blues” struggles with his own identity and finding himself. He has a sense of insecurity and conformity to escape his past and from where he comes. The narrator finds himself focusing on his brother’s mistakes in life when in reality; he is questioning his inner insecurities. The narrator believes he must rescue his brother but realizes first he must find rescue himself. 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 rescue from his guilt of …show more content…
When the narrator accompanies Sonny to the nightclub to listen to him play his music; Sonny’s music portrays his wisdom as he plays about his brother’s frustrations with the trials and sufferings they both endured. Sonny’s artful playing of the blues opens the narrator’s heart to listen genuinely. If one listens to what lies on the inside that is the key to finding oneself. Joseph Flibbert states in the article “Sonny’s Blues” Overview, “In the music he hears, he sees his mother’s face, and that of his little girl … The powerful incantations of Sonny’s art reaches his soul, and for the first time, he listens to the dark voice within”. Flibbert is saying the narrator allows himself to open up and realize that his suffering is not his own it is also a reflection of Sonny’s suffering. He realizes that he must accept the suffering and not try to escape it. By realizing his pain and inner darkness, the narrator is open to acknowledge Sonny’s pain and struggle to be free. The narrator states in the short story Sonny’s Blues”, “Freedom lurked around us, and I understood, at last, that he could help us to be free if we would listen, that he would never be free until we did” (Baldwin). In other words, Baldwin is implying that the blues Sonny soulfully plays rescues and transforms the …show more content…
"Sonny's Blues". 28 Feb 2018. swcta.net/moore/files/2012/02/sonnysblues.pdf Flibbert, Joseph. "Sonny's Blues: Overview." Reference Guide to Short Fiction, edited by Noelle Watson, St. James Press, 1994. Literature Resource Center, http://link.galegroup.com.proxy151.nclive.org/apps/doc/H1420000483/LitRC?u=ncliverockcc&sid=LitRC&xid=63c3f5bd. Accessed 11 Feb. 2018. Norton, Sandy Morey. "'To Keep from Shaking to Pieces': Addiction and Bearing Reality in 'Sonny's Blues.'." Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, edited by Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau, vol. 229, Gale, 2010. Literature Resource Center, http://link.galegroup.com.proxy151.nclive.org/apps/doc/H1420096909/LitRC?u=ncliverockcc&sid=LitRC&xid=706af6fe. Accessed 11 Feb. 2018. Originally published in The Languages of Addiction, edited by Jane Lilienfeld and Jeffrey Oxford, St. Martin's Press, 1999, pp. 175-192. Tackach, James. "The biblical foundation of James Baldwin's 'Sonny's Blues'." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature, vol. 59, no. 2, 2007, p. 109+. Literature Resource Center, http://link.galegroup.com.proxy151.nclive.org/apps/doc/A161502025/LitRC?u=ncliverockcc&sid=LitRC&xid=a95f8cb0. Accessed 11 Feb.
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Clark states in his article “James Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues: Childhood, Light, and Art” that “…the narrator is seated “in a dark corner” ...in contrast the stage is dominated by light” (Clark). Clark shows by this that within the darkness that surrounds Sonny, music is a place of hope for him. Light is shown to effect Sonny in a different way than his Uncle. Light is shown to effect Sonny in a surrounding that would have been a place of comfort for him before his addiction. The narrator states, “…[they] were being careful not to step into that circle of light too suddenly…that if they moved into the light too suddenly… they would perish” (Baldwin 112).
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
That you shouldn’t let your living situations or surroundings determine your outcome. Sonny's Blues shows challenges that troubled the African-American community, and how drugs troubled the young artists and kept them bound like slaves. How those living in Harlem, felt like there was no escape to the poverty that surrounded them. How a young artist was overcoming his demons, with the support of his family and living out his dream. How one has to forgive and not let the past control one’s future, nor let the surroundings of your environment determine where you will go in
As a matter of fact, the storyteller does not appreciate Sonny's motivations to play jazz music until the evening he socially joins Sonny to his stage show at a nightclub. Sitting in a dark corner at the nightclub, the storyteller listens to his brother play, considering the reminder of Sonny's friend, Creole, of what the Blues are about, "The tale, of the blues, how we live, and how we are delighted, how we suffer... and how we triumph... must be heard... it's the only light we've got in all this darkness." (Baldwin 139). For the narrator, he perceives that the Blues is the manifestation for Sonny's emotions, especially his suffering, because, as Creole would say, music is the only light in the
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.
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.
Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin was a short story about the struggles of living in a tough, rundown neighborhood and looking to drugs as a way out. Baldwin’s intent on writing this piece focuses on pain and suffering. The author stresses that not everybody is born in the best circumstances. Sonny was one of those people who grew up in a rickety town where people often did not make it out successful.
Racism, a very horrible thing, still exists in the world we live in and those who are black will find it very hard to succeed in life due to the constant discrimination and the bad influence near them. A very good example for this is a short story called “Sonny’s Blue.” A short story about a 2 African Americans and how one leads a successful life while the other falls to bad influence and ends up in jail Black people had to face lot of problems before the segregation was ended. . Many people think the past remains in the past and doesn't matter today; the terrible acts of segregation, exploitation, and discrimination that were once upheld by the government are irrelevant now just because the present day isn't like that anymore. But the truth is that racism still exists
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.
In modern-day life people often have their ups and downs of having power and losing it all. This is a key element in life, which is why many art forms choose to use it as their basis of writing. Literature often shows power and powerlessness through heroes and villains. However, author James Baldwin brings the battle of having and losing power through ordinary people’s life experiences. In the short story, Sonny’s Blues, written by James Baldwin examines the idea of how the desire to have power or control leads to having no power at all through the plot, characters, and setting.
“Sonny’s Blues,” written by James Baldwin discusses conflicts between two brothers in hopes of mending their relationship. “Sonny’s Blues” begins with the unnamed narrator reading a piece of paper with information regarding the trouble his brother Sonny has gotten himself into. The narrator has not been communicating with his brother during this period, but after the death of his two-year-old daughter Grace, he writes Sonny a letter. Once Sonny has been released, he goes back to Harlem to live with the narrator, and the narrator forces him into staying with his fiancé Isabel and her family because he believes Sonny deserves the opportunity to receive an education. Sonny makes it known to the narrator that he does not want to go back to school
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.
Throughout the story of “Sonny’s Blues”, James Baldwin develops a theme that can still be related with today. The misunderstanding and lack of knowledge that the narrator experiences, about his brother, is something that many today feel, as their own family members are being prosecuted and they do not comprehend why. Within the story, there are numerous subtle ideas that are used to progress the story and theme along to the ending that is given. James Baldwin advances the theme of his story, that misfortune and anguish can be renovated into a unique art form, using characterizations, settings, and symbolisms. One of the main literary devices that is used to express the theme is characterization.
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.
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.