Character Analysis: Summary In Sonny's Blues By James Baldwin

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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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