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. So this makes his real- life experience connect so closely to the story he had written. He experienced loss in real life along with in his story. In the story, the narrator had also lost his daughter to polo, although he didn’t exactly explain his feelings, he showed that it did affect him. Which makes me think that maybe Baldwin was the type of person to hide his feelings and act tough even though things affected him. He tried not to dwell on things, but realize that he can feel …show more content…
They both went through the same childhood, but handled it differently. The narrator was more mature and had set goals. While Sonny, fell into the depth of his feeling and influences. The narrator cares for his brother and feels as if he has failed him. While his brother feels like he could never truly explain anything to the narrator. Although both characters were different they found an understanding by trying to feel what each other were feeling. Also by coping with their tough childhood and feelings together without directly communicating. Sonny wanted so desperately to please his brother, but couldn’t find a way to avoid Jazz but still get that feeling he craved. Sonny was clearly disappointed and embarrassed by his choice of actions and despite what anyone said, he realized the choice he made was poor and it was time to follow his dream. At the end, the narrator realizes why Sonny turned to drugs in the first place. Sonny wanted his brother to see how Jazz made him feel and his brother saw that when he watched Sonny play. Sonny never wanted drugs, he wanted
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“Jazz is a complete lifestyle, something that you feel, something that you live.” (Ray Brown). In his short story, “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin tells the story of a young jazz musician, and tries to capture the lifestyle described by jazz bassist Ray Brown in his character Sonny. Baldwin constantly limits the potential of Sonny as a character by placing him in situations that defy his personality, but make him a believable character because they are similar to experience of actual jazz musicians.
Sonny’s ambition to become a jazz pianist points him into an opposite direction than his brother, and into a place where the common suffering is handled with drugs and music. The fundamental differences between these two brothers in their lack of understanding for each other and their gradual acceptance of one another, is presented and explained by their personal and social conflicts, what the symbolism casts upon the story,
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’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.
For example, the narrator talked about how Sonny stayed at his sister-in-law's house and played his heart out on their piano. This flashback showed his love for music anywhere he was. It helped him escape the pain he was feeling in Harlem and some of his responsibilities of school by staying home and playing. Baldwin also used stereotypes to get his message across. Harlem was not a friendly, rich, white town, so the fact that he chose this setting it made the reader automatically assume that these brothers did not grow up in a stable environment.
This can keep him from discovering who he truly is. 4. The narrator of Sonny's Blues is asked by his mother to watch over his brother, Sonny, and sort of act as his keeper. After his mother's death, Sonny's life is taken over by drug abuse and prison. There is tension between the brothers, as shown by the narrator's original refusal to contact or deal with Sonny after going away to prison.
Sonny aspired to be a musician because it motivated him to express his feelings through the music. Within playing Sonny could tell how he was feeling without ever having to leave his comfort zone. The addiction to drugs Sonny suffered had nothing to do with Sonny being a musician it had to do with Sonny being able to express his emotions in ways he was incapable of when he wasn’t
One will constantly face temporary conflict throughout life, but ultimately they can overcome through a will to on and pursue what makes oneself happy. Baldwin was able to create a picture in the reader's mind due to his personal relation to his characters, he was able to understand the harsh times for an African-American male. It also reflects on the care that siblings have for one another and how even though they have good intentions, they can't always help their loved one follow a positive
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
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” is not just about Sonny's decisions and struggles but also about how they affect the narrator. This story is as much about family and brotherhood and the relationship between these two men as it is about the character of
The narrator took the role of being a big brother serious; however going to the military and keeping distant from Sonny affected his brother in many ways. Sandy Norton states that the narrator was in awe when it came to his brother, he didn’t know how to help Sonny, which is why he chose not to think about his brother’s addiction to heroin. “He is, in fact, A man full of fear, trying to use his relatively privileged social position to protect himself from social reality” (Norton 175-192). This quote explains how the narrator tries to avoid thinking about his little brother being hooked on
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.
I chose to write my Response Essay on the story "Sonny's Blues" written by James Baldwin. In Sonny's Blues, the storyteller recounts the tale of his association with his sibling, Sonny. Sonny is a performer not able to get away from the ghetto. Disheartened by his sibling's suffering , the storyteller connects with him, yet discovers that Sonny's hurt powers his music. The narrator is a teacher in Harlem that has changed his life and got out of the ghetto where he grew up.