“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do” (Pele qtd. In Soccerlens). Countless people have done amazing things through perseverance. Sonny was an average boy in a mining town, but he started building rockets and learned a valuable life lesson. Through perseverance, you can accomplish your dreams. This theme is shown in the memoir October Sky, and is seen in topics such as, Sonny’s pursuit of education, his rockets, and his relationship with his father.
Sonny 's Blues is a short story that was written by James Baldwin. The story has a number of conflicts but the main conflict that is explained in the story is communication between Sonny and his brother who is not named in the story and finding means to understand each other. The two brothers have different passion where playing jazz was Sonny 's passion and teaching algebra was his brother ‘s passion. The two brothers are separated by a number of factors such as their environments, cultural issues not forgetting the emotional detachment that existed between them. This paper will analyze the conflict and whether it was resolved at the end of the story (Baldwin, 2010).
The theme of determination is really shown by the relationship between Sonny and his father. They are very different people with personalities that tend to clash. Sonny’s relationship with his father became distant when he was young, in part to his mother’s insistence. When his grandfather commented that he’s just like his father she responded by telling Sonny: “No, you’re not, you’re not.” She instilled in Sonny that he’s not like his father, which really affected Sonny and his dad’s relationship later on. It is apparent throughout the book that Sonny wants his father’s acceptance. “I listened, amazed, not that he was saying what he was saying, but that he would share such thoughts with me. I felt proud, grown-up.” This quote demonstrates Sonny’s quiet need to be appreciated by his father, even though Homer seemingly does not care about his interest in rockets. Homer Hickam Sr. at first sees Sonny as an embarrassment and was sure he was going to fail. However, when he sees Sonny’s determination to build rockets, he decides to support him. “‘No way,’ he said. ‘And that’s final.’ The tubing showed up on the back porch, later leaning against a far corner, along with some bar stock as well. I took it, no questions asked, still letting the old dog soak up the sun. If dad wanted to pretend he wasn’t really helping me, who was I to argue with him.” This quote is an example of Homer’s silent support of Sonny’s rocketry endeavors. Sonny’s father ended up being a huge help in the
Sonny did not start off building rockets with much success. In fact, he burnt his mom's fence down in an explosion that scared the whole town, because they were afraid it came from the mine. However, instead of discouraging him, he kept working on the rockets; changing the body and nozzle design, using different types of propellants and metals, until it finally worked. The bad news, however, was that the rocket veered off course and hit his father’s office, causing Mr. Hickam to forbid his son from launching any more rockets. But Sonny’s determination to keep working on the rockets eventually leaded his father to give them a place to launch their rockets. Sonny and his friends, now calling themselves the Rocket Boys, started putting ads in the newspaper so people could come watch
In A Letter to My Nephew, James Baldwin, the now deceased critically acclaimed writer, pens a message to his nephew, also named James. This letter is meant to serve as a caution to him of the harsh realities of being black in the United States. With Baldwin 's rare usage of his nephew 's name in the writing, the letter does not only serve as a letter to his relative, but as a message to black youth that is still needed today.
Every time the narrator attempted to control what his brother wanted to do in life, the more he lost power over his brother. Not only did he lose power he lost that deep connection one should have with their sibling. Sonny’s desire to not be powerless anymore gave him the determination to gain power which he could not handle. This lead him to lose all of that power once again. People when reading this should really consider how what they are doing to gain power is affecting others in theirs lives. Having power is a big responsibility and people in society need to find the right balance of control or risk losing everything they have, even the ones they
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
In the essay “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin, he expresses feelings of hate and despair towards his father. His father died when James was 19 years old from tuberculosis; it just so happens that his funeral was on the day of the Harlem Riot of 1943. Baldwin explains that his father isn’t fond of white people due to the racist past. He recalls a time when a white teacher brought him to a theater and that caused nothing but upset with his father, even though it was a kind act. Many events happened to Baldwin as a result of segregation, including a time where a waitress refused to serve him due to his skin color and Baldwin threw a pitcher of water at her. Throughout this essay James Baldwin uses characterization to show his father’s
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
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.
Through this conversation, the narrator gained respect and insight on Sonny's life in the times that he was not there. Sonny was cryptic in his speaking at first but eventually made it very clear to his brother and even said, "the reason I wanted to leave Harlem so bad was to get away from drugs" (89). The narrator does not have much to say, but ultimately blames all of this on the "vivid, killing streets of [their] childhood" (73), that neither of them had truly escaped. He once thought they both had, him by becoming a teacher and Sonny by simply not living in Harlem for years, but in this moment, he realizes that not much has really changed - they still faced those streets, the only difference now was that they knew what they inherit. Sonny convinced his brother to come watch him play - the narrator knowing he could not possibly say no. And even though Sonny had not played in years, the narrator claimed his "fingers filled the air with life, his life' (92), and the narrator began to feel at peace with his brother's decisions; realizing that music is what made him happy.
As soon as the narrator is reunited with Sonny, he begins to fully describe his surroundings. At this point in the relationship, the narrator is excited to see his brother, but extremely scared for both Sonny’s future and the future of their
For all the characters, Sonny was a son who helped his family and embraced his African heritage; these features were really considered and respected. Contrary to the narrator who melted or tried to melt in the American culture in order to survive, but the turning point occurred when he lost his daughter; so he recognize the pain of the others as well as his brother that he was forgotten during years ago. Besides, thanks to his brother’s music the narrator finds redemption. The evolution of the character’s trait moves from being a selfish person to a suffering man who finally finds peace deep inside himself.
This was to take up the responsibility that was given to him and to let his brother know that he has someone on his corner. “I was sitting in the living room in the dark, by myself, and I suddenly thought of Sonny. My trouble made his real” (Baldwin 378). This shows that the brother has grown sympathy for Sonny. This is because his daughter’s death caused him to really sit down and evaluate the series of events that has taken place in Sonny’s life. The narrator says that Sonny’s trouble became surreal when the narrator was put in the position of losing someone dear to
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. He sees African American youths finding the points of confinement put on them by a supremacist society at the exact instant when they are finding their capacities. The narrator talks about his association with his more youthful sibling, Sonny. That relationship has traveled