Loneliness Exposed In Sonny's Blues By James Baldwin

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Sonny’s Blues, written by James Baldwin, is a story about the opposite lives of a troubled inner-city black teenager who struggles with addiction and the missing relationship with his brother. In the opening paragraphs it is apparent the brothers do not have a close relationship as the narrator says “He became real to me again” (Baldwin) as if Sonny is only an imaginative or elusive figure. While Sonny has a real and apparent addiction to heroin, for which he was incarcerated our narrator also struggles with an emotional imprisonment of his own. What can break the ice between our two characters and reunite the brotherly love which was lost so long ago? Imprisonment is a common theme throughout the story and we soon realize Sonny has been arrested and will be sent to prison. Interestingly, the manner in which the narrator describes the scene is as if it is he who is imprisoned and not Sonny. Our narrator describes the youth being filled “with rage” (Baldwin) which is only overshadowed the darkness in their lives. The two types of darkness described in the story…show more content…
It is easy to imagine the squalid conditions, run-down buildings with graffiti and broken windows and general lack of maintenance and cleanliness. I would have never considered any biblical references to this story. While looking for secondary sources I discovered “Sonny’s Blues” does indeed mirror the story of the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15. As in the biblical story of the prodigal son, Sonny returns home to find safety and acceptance from his family. Similarly to the biblical parable in “Sonny’s Blues” the elder son remains true to his family responsibilities and the “straight and narrow path” while the younger son engages in “riotous living (Tackach).” It is after the eldest son writes to Sonny, while he is imprisoned, that Sonny returns home to his
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