The brothers represent not only Baldwin himself, but their entire culture as well. Moreover, the blues express the battles, the condition and the rage that comes with being a black man in American society (Fares 72). The blues are a mutual understanding of suffering between every single person in the community; they are symbolic of the love that lets them bear the weight of the world in their shoulders with confidence because they know they are not alone. Baldwin wrote “Sonny’s Blues” to show that only an individual holds the power to accept their own suffering, and only when they come to terms with their pain, will they begin to understand the pain of those before them like the narrator did during his epiphany. In unison, they will set a framework for the generations that follow as they try to find a solution to their overall role in
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.
In the short story, Sonny’s Blues, there is a troubled relationship between Sonny and his brother, the narrator. Sonny, a recovering drug addict, who has just been released from jail, and completely disowned by his family, has hit rock bottom. The narrator, on the other hand, is quite successful. He has a steady job as a teacher, a wife and two sons, all things he is proud of. Their brotherly relationship becomes tested after the death of the narrator’s daughter, Grace. Caitlin Stone, a student at California State University Bakersfield, did a literally critique on how symbolic the death of grace was to the brothers. I agree, that the death of the narrator’s daughter, Grace, reveals a symbolic, paradoxical elements of the narrative that underlie it and serve to illuminate the tension and eventual reconciliation between
In “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin wrote a different type coming of age story. At the end of the story the narrator finally develops a new understanding for his brother, and forgives him.
James Baldwin is a renowned author best known for his work of essays, books and short stories, particularly those which dwell deeply into important social and psychological issues of discrimination, gender inequality, homophobia and so on. One of Mr. Baldwin 's most appreciated literary works is the short story 'Sonny 's Blues ' which focuses on two brothers who grew up together but take different paths in life. The story follows the narrator learning about his brother Sonny 's incarceration due to the use and selling of drugs until his brother gets parole. Throughout the story, we learn about the relationship between the pair and are able to witness the narrators ultimate understanding of Sonny and his ambition. As we continue to observe the impressive short story, we find the most recurring theme to be that of sorrow. From the very beginning of the tale, the sorrow is palpable through the unnamed narrator 's discovery of Sonny 's incarceration, and moreover through the atmosphere created by Mr. Baldwin. The most prominent message that can be deciphered and recognized in Sonny 's Blues is that the sadness and sorrow that one experiences in their life can bring about many obstacles but it can be countered and used for something greater by a search for understanding and acceptance. James Baldwin establishes this implication through the use of his characters; the narrator, Sonny, and the singer seen on the street. All these characters experience sorrow and sadness in their
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
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. Throughout the story he struggles to keep this promise. At the end of the story Sonny invites the narrator to come to a music club and hear him play, he accepts the invite. Upon arrival the narrator realizes he is in Sonny’s world. Hearing Sonny play only one set he is in awe and sends his brother a drink of scotch with milk. Sonny accepts it and gives a nod of approval to his brother across the room. In that moment the narrator finally understands Sonny’s love for music. Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” displays the theme of brotherly love to illustrate, that love can keep a family together no matter how many fights or issues there may be.
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. As Donald C. Murray has said in his article, “James Baldwin’s ‘Sonny’s Blues’: Complicated and Simple”, “Images of light and darkness are used by Baldwin… ( Murray 354)”. Also, Baldwin is able to tell a story that can make the reader visualize what is happening to this character Sonny, even though it is being narrated through the eyes and perspective of his older brother. He portrays the older brother as someone who can understand and recognizes the internal struggles of Sonny and be compassionate about them, even though the elder brother does not agree with all the life choices his brother has
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.
Sonny is the main character in the story who has been through a lot in life. He wanted to be a jazz musician. After going through all the trouble, Sonny was a great musician and he loved to play music more than anything. He used music to escape from all the bad things around him. Most black people grow up in the slums and it is extremely hard to make it out of there without getting stuck on something bad. As said in the story “Some escaped the trap, most didn’t. those who got out always left something of themselves behind, as some animals amputate a leg and leave it in the trap” (Baldwin pg. 129). Both the narrator and sonny was able to escape the overpowering pull of Harlem in different ways. The narrator of the Sonny’s Blues was able to get out and he lived a happy life, having a family and a career while sonny got stuck and ended up doing drugs and eventually got himself arrested. The narrator was an algebra teacher. Being black in America for most people means you have to face discrimination, and live the hard life at slums. However, as time goes on, there are more and more successful African
James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blue’s” makes great use of different literary devices throughout the story. The author utilizes conflict, symbolism, and the narrator’s point of view to give the story a deeper meaning and significance to the story. Sonny’s Blue’s is about an older brother’s relationship and differences with his younger brother, Sonny. 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,
“Sonny’s blues” takes place in Harlem, an Afro-American neighborhood in New York City. Harlem plays a crucial role in this short story, because it is depicted as place where the narrator and his brother must struggle to escape the hustle and bustle of their own reality. “Sonny’s blues” is
Moving on to “Sonny's Blues” that is told in the first person from the point of view of an unnamed narrator who, we find out, is Sonny’s brother. The narrator in this story is an interesting figure. He’s mostly telling us Sonny's story, and this would seem to make him a peripheral character instead of a central one. But this is also his story. “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
Throughout the story Sonny’s Blue, there are many different symbols that represent different things, with the disparate functions. Light and darkness are the two universal symbols of Sonny’s Blues. Light has usually conveyed the goodness, hope, and purity of life. In the other hand, darkness performs for death, tragedy, and negativity. As light connects with darkness, it created an attraction for the readers. Additionally, music is a conventional symbol that brings happiness to Sonny, the main character in the story.
The description of light and darkness shows the two different path of the two brother and who they are. The narrator and the older brother of Sonny path is lit and he know what want to do life, and he wants the same for his brother. But Sonny’s path is different it’s dark and uncertain he does not know what he wants he only thinks he does. He even say it himself, "I don't think," he said, looking at me very gravely, "that I'll ever be a good drummer. But I think I can play a piano."(pg. 11) This making him seem uncertain about abilities and his future in the beginning. The best way to describe where they were born is place covered by darkness it was gloomy, rundown, and lifeless or what the narrator said,” It looks like a parody of the good,