In the short story “Sonny’s Blues” the narrator Sonny’s brother talks about their life together and also the environment they live in. the title of the story is name after the brother of the narrator, it is through the narrator’s eyes about his brother Sonny. As a young African American male born in Harlem, sonny is aware of the limits and obstacles he faces. He struggles with the being around the same environment, so he decided by moving away from Harlem his problems will go away and he can start his career as a musician, unlike his brother the narrator has a wife, two children, and a good job as a teacher. The narrator talks about the drug dealing that happens in the playgrounds near the housing projects and of course his brother’s battle
He knows the limits of being black and poor and wants to escape them. He tries to break free by moving out of Harlem and becoming a musician, but ends up in prison. While in prison, Sonny writes a letter to his brother saying, “I can’t tell you much how I got here…. I was trying to escape from something” (p. 127). Sonny wants to escape from drugs, the darkness, and Harlem to go to light of happiness, and redemption. He knows that the drugs destroyed him and is “glad Mama and Daddy are dead and can’t see what’s happened to their son” (p. 127) because he know his parents would be disappointed in him.
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
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.
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.
He describes the childhood friend of Sonny as being “high and raggy” and smelling “funky,” and later a woman as having a “battered face” and being a “semi-whore” (68-69). These vivid character descriptions sharply contrast the strong lack of environmental descriptions found at the beginning of the story. These environmental descriptions are not yet found because Sonny has not yet come back to the city. Since the environment is used as a tool for describing the relationship between the brothers, it can not be described fully until the relationship is at play.
Using his writing as a form of self-expression, James Baldwin, an African American author, spent his life seeking to reveal the cruel reality of African American men. “Sonny Blues” Baldwin’s short fiction, was published in 1957 and takes place during the Harlem Renaissance. The literary work tells the story of Sonny and his brother (an unnamed narrator), as they seek to understand how to navigate the delicate and dangerous waters of familial relationships, their role in society and themselves. However, it is not until the end of the story when Sonny’s brother narrates the powerful, melodic sound of Sonny’s blues that he acknowledges his own pain. It is during his epiphany, when he finally begins to understand Sonny’s pain and the pain of every generation who came before him and after him. Baldwin’s acknowledgement as he declares, “I knew, no matter what anybody said, that the future I faced, was not the future they faced”
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.
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’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
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.
Many of the characters in “Sonny’s Blues” face battles within themselves. The characters fight the battle of trying to keep the light shining inside and to not let the darkness inhabit them. “Images of light and darkness are used by Baldwin to illustrate his theme of man’s painful quest for an identity” (Murray
Sonny’s Blues incorporates racial frustration, self-expression, avoidance, lightness/darkness and symbolic nature of music. Baldwins descriptive mental images gives readers a sense of the time frame the characters are in. With our understanding of the setting we are able to understand how life was like in the 1940s and why the theme of racism plays a factor in these characters lives. Through this short story Baldwin manages to show pain ,and hardships and the journey that is needed to transcend from
After hearing that his younger brother, Sonny, has been put in jail due to drug use, he remembers his childhood, and how they both never did really get along. Both Sonny and the narrator feel a sense of “darkness outside”, and this “darkness” is what creates the miscommunication between the brothers (Baldwin 338). Sonny changed his normality due to not being noticed during his childhood, and the drastic change causes the older brother to feel uncomfortable seeing his brother, because Sonny told him that “he was dead as far as [he] was concerned” (351). Their struggles caused them to lose contact, and to slowly build that invisible barrier between their