James Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues shows a contrast between restriction and opportunity, and failure and salvation. The reader can see struggle through the brother’s relationship and their individual past. Baldwin is showing the reader that through all the struggles of life, there is salvation at the end. The symbolism of windows being barriers is a struggle to break free from where they are.
Throughout the story it reveals how self-expression is difficult for people and can lead to trouble and/or miscommunication which can cause problems. Such as misunderstanding when someone wants to say something. Self-expression is an important theme throughout Sonny’s Blues because it can relate to the audience difficulty trying to express them. For example on pages 51 to 53, Sonny and the narrator are trying to talk about Sonny’s future. On page 53, Sonny explains that he wants to join the army in order to get out of Harlem.
His interpretation of darkness has changed. He begins to understand that with darkness of suffering and the light of liberation are allied which is why Baldwin incorporates the indigo light. The Narrator starts to understand Sonny’s musical form of expression. The music is now allowing him to feel instead of living in denial. Music has become the bridge between the two brothers.
An underground world where Sonny feels part of a society and is unrestricted from established social norms. In addition, the author utilized the first-person point of view to narrate the story and to have a better opportunity to present to the readers a better image of how the actions, decisions, and mistakes of a person can indirectly affect others in their circle. In “Sonny’s Blues” the narrator told the story he knows, believes, and recall of his brother, Sonny, in addition to his own personal
Demonstrating his love for music, it’s the only thing holding him together as his only purpose in life is creating music because his life in prison has changed him and he is unwilling to chase after any other goals besides music. While also displaying the literary device metaphor because the words, “shaken to pieces,” is an implicit comparison between each other. All in all, James Baldwin also develops metaphors throughout the duration of “Sonny’s Blues,” to tie in with his theme of suffering can lead to creation.
In the article, “Blues as a Literary Theme,” Gene Bluestein asserts that the theme of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is the blues. Not in the literal sense of the feeling, but in the sense of the musical genre and all that it has to offer. Through emphasizing the American mold “without a past or anterior folklore which will serve to define his national values and literary expression,” Bluestein argues that the narrator fit this mold and, therefore, depicted a lot of bluesy ideals. In other words, he argues that the narrator of Invisible Man incorporates little of his past life to show his creative expression through speech, and this parallels with the ideal American man that is emphasized in blues music.
According to Tero Liukkonen, a critic, James Baldwin’s writing is known for his “sexual and personal identity and civil rights struggles in the United States” which is evident in his short story Sonny’s Blues. It presents suffering and survival within the black community and throughout the characters family as well. Sonny’s Blues takes place in Harlem, New York in 1950’s were the Narrator, an unnamed character, as well as his older brother Sonny, tells the story. Characters like the Narrator, Sonny and their mother are strongly impacted by the pain of their families suffering. Throughout the short story, each character understands his/her own suffering and plan to attain a better life.
Symbolism in “The Birthmark” and “Sonny’s Blues” Authors often create symbols, with meanings unknown to the characters of the story, that drive conflict and ultimately intrigues readers, making them yearn to know what happens next. No matter when the work was written, these symbols often add much-needed depth to any story and spark actions a reader may not have seen coming. The short story “The Birthmark was written and published by Nathaniel Hawthorne in March 1843. The short story "Sonny’s Blues” was written and published by James Baldwin in 1957.
In the story, “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin insists, that music is a universal language that speaks life into a dead soul. Stereotypical notion of music arouses emotions that are disregarded. The story demonstrates the significance of music and the components that communicates needs and wants. Sonny’s character was not very talkative, but his music spoke with volume. This paper will analyze the elements of music told in “Sonny’s Blues” that connects and bonds the characters emotionally, physically and socially.
Prompt #3: “ Sonny’s Blues” ( James Baldwin, 1957). In the story, the characters come in conflict with the culture in which he lives. Working Thesis: In my opinion most stories as conflict with one or more of the characters in the story, but how the characters deal with conflict will shapes the theme of a story and if they were to have done something different the theme would change or won’t change. When Sonny was about as old as the boys in classes had been bright and open, there was a lot of copper in it; and he’d had wonderfully direct brown eyes, and great gentleness and privacy.
Essay question 1. Starr and Waterman note that “the use of encoded, or hidden, meaning in the blues has its roots in many earlier genres of African American music.” These coded messages often take the form of referencing local landmarks (i.e., “where the southern cross the dog”) and sexual references (i.e., “That Black Snake Moan”). How do these traditions continue to impact popular music?
In the story “Sonny’s Blues” written by James Baldwin, one of the main characters was a drug abuser. Sonny lived a miserable and lonely life. After he got hooked on drugs, his brother, the narrator stopped associating with him. On page 175, he said that it has been over a year since he had seen Sonny. Also on page 177, the narrator said “I did not write Sonny, or send him anything for a long time.”
We all have memories that make us cringe like nails on a chalkboard as they traverse our brain. The narrator read the article about Sonny and everything from the past came flooding back to him, “Sonny was wild, but he wasn’t crazy” (146) the narrator states in disbelief. Another example of this cringing feeling is near the end of “Sonny’s Blues” as the narrator elaborates “that trouble stretched above us, longer than the sky” (175). The narrator quotes this as he reminisces on the many years of suffering he and Sonny endured. Even though James Baldwin’s short story is spread in the span of a decade, the narrator can vividly remember the memories that make him recoil as he states “The same things happen, they’ll have the same thing to remember”
Flashbacks are important in “Sonny’s Blues”, because they provide context for the events of the story. Flashbacks of the past help readers to understand the present. The author uses significant flashbacks to highlight the theme of the story, which is the obligation of the narrator’s love towards his brother, Sonny. In an important flashback, the narrator recalls the fight between Sonny and their father because they were so much alike in personality. The narrator also remembers his mother requesting him to watch out for his brother on the last day he saw her while on leave from the army.
“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