Erika Malloy Dr. Rachel Bowman-Abdi ENG-105 20, October 2015 Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin is the story of two brothers. One is a teacher and the narrator of the story while the other lives a life of sorrow and struggle. The narrator gives his point of view of Sonny’s situation. Sonny reminds him of the troubled youth that have limited, if any possibilities in life. The narrator is visited by a friend from Sonny’s past and then after reaches out to his brother.
The analysis of this short story reveals a narrator of an Afro-American community who wanted to be part of the white culture but in vain, because he was confronted to tragic events, such as his brother’s imprisonment at an early age for drugs’ deals. This event makes him realize that he is part of that society where even in the school students are addicted to drugs. The story focuses on the necessity to accept its own community’s heritage as a factor to reach any political social o economical purpose. The narrator finds peace really when he reconnects with his family and his heritage that he tried hard to sacrifice in order to live. We can also notice that the relationship with his brother makes him feel deeply his own pains and
Diamond Williams Professor Wolfe LIT2001 3 January 16 Fiction Analysis “Sonny’s Blues” is a short story written by James Baldwin that reflects on the ongoing struggles between failure and atonement amongst two brothers. The older brother who is also the narrator, gives us insight on the struggles in Harlem, and the life he had with his drug addicted younger brother, Sonny. As we follow the narrator, we later discover who Sonny really is. Published in the mid nineteen hundreds, the burdensome of living in Harlem in “Sonny’s Blues” reflects the life that James Baldwin endured. The narrator starts the story off by reflecting back to when Sonny was a young boy.
Rhythm of the Soul “Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can't” (Depp). In some cases, music can convey people’s emotions, feelings, and thoughts stronger than words can. In James Baldwin’s short story, “Sonny’s Blues”, the narrator and his younger brother Sonny struggle with a communication barrier. Sonny can express his emotions by the language of music that his older brother, the narrator, has a difficult time understanding. The narrator, who is a stable school teacher, has a hard time relating to his younger brother and the other kids from their neighborhood, who became heroin addicts.
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.
;He then puts his head down in shame and says his suffering is a consequence of his own actions, so he can gain control over his life and the drugs offered an elusive feeling of control. As the night goes on His brother approaches us and introduces himself I can tell that sonny and his brother are very close and get along very well. He compliments his brother and says how proud he is of him. I see that look again of life satisfaction from sonny. I ask his brother why did you give sonny a glass of milk and scotch?
Trying to get out of the city a few years earlier by joining the army like his brother, he returned to the place that he knew best, Harlem. However, unlike his brother who made something of himself, Sonny’s aspiration was to be a musician. Upset with Sonny’s desire, the narrator did not understand why Sonny wanted “to spend his time hanging around nightclubs” (Baldwin 1978). We can assume the narrator associates these types of establishments with partying, mischievous mischief and drugs; a common occurrence in a poverty stricken section of New York like Harlem. Though the narrator judges the nightclubs as a bad influence on Sonny’s survival, Sonny uses his music to escape the many obstacles he faces everyday as a poor black man in
The short story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin is about a young man whom is struggling in life. The narrator, who is unnamed throughout the story, and Sonny’s older brother tells the readers in depth about his brothers battle. In the late 1900s during poverty and systematic oppression, many African Americans were subjected to one specific area in modern day known as Harlem. Not only is story about discrimination African Americans faced, it is about two brothers gaining a better understanding on each others lives. Baldwin demonstrates that acceptance over a family member’s decisions can strengthen the bond between two estranged brothers.
What is one to do when ones kin is the obstacle in finding ones true identity? In “Sonny’s Blues,” the two main characters, Sonny and his brother, the narrator, grow up facing many perilous customs in the ghetto of Harlem, ultimately changing them, and eventually causes the two brothers to head towards different paths in life, allowing conflict to emerge between them. Sonny chases towards a life filled with jazz and heroine, while his brother turns to a more luxurious life with a respectable teaching position. The eldest brother, the narrator, has dubiousness over Sonny’s way of life, worrying that this will be the origin of him falling into a life emerged in darkness. However, towards the end of the short story, the narrator comes to the conclusion that it was he who was in the darkness, in which Sonny helps him escape for a brief moment.
In the story, "Sonny's Blues", the narrator, who is Sonny's big brother struggles with the best way to help his brother. Both were raised in Harlem and lived within poverty. The narrator used his childhood struggles as a stepping stone to better himself and become a teacher for a high school. While Sonny became one of the many teens who fell into the drug world of the streets. The narrator's biggest conflict, in my opinion, is why did Sonny turn down such a dark path and how can he help his brother without judging the lifestyle he chose.
Talented black men like Benjamin Banneker and Phillis Wheatley, a mathematician and a famous poet, proved that free black men could contribute to society (Divine et al 138). White, racist exploiters who have resources, weapons, and the law on their side could not capture back their slaves, and this proved to many that African Americans were capable of organizing and creating solutions to problems. (Weiser) While this may not have changed their perceptions of African Americans as equal, it altered the
Armstrong became a Jazz Ambasador for the U.S. government and ended up playing Black and Blue for people of other countries (Meckna,Satchmo: The Louis Armstrong Encyclopedia , 2004, p. 38). Many argue that Armstrong was an ineffective advocate for racial tolerance and equality due to the way he appeared to play into black stereotypes created by whites. One example of this is his performance as King of the Zulus. Though this was his boyhood dream come true, younger generations of African Americans were embarrassed and frustrated by it. Even Armstrong’s supporters clumsily tried to support his actions with no avail (Teachout, Pops: a life of Louis Armstrong, 2009, p. 324).