Character analysis essay of the short story “Sonny’s blues” by James Baldwin James Baldwin is considered as the most well-known writer of the 20th century. His writings were mainly concerned by the problem of racism in America since he was one of the figures of the civil rights movement. “Sonny’s blues” is one of his greatest literary works, where we will notice how the persistent racism the writer experienced has had a great impact on his devoted writings. “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.
James Baldwin’s short story, “Sonny’s Blues,” tells the story of two brothers living in 1950s Harlem. The story depicts the relationship of the brothers as the younger brother, Sonny, battles to overcome a heroin addiction and find a career in jazz. In “Sonny’s Blues”, Baldwin’s shifting portrayal of Harlem mirrors the changing relationship of the two brothers: while both the city and the relationship were originally with dark uncertainty, by the end of the story, the narrator has begun to find peace both within his surroundings and his relationship with his brother.
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
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. The story’s narrator is a black algebra teacher, whose name is never revealed, who is living in Harlem, a New York City neighborhood. In the beginning of the story the narrator reads about his brother, Sonny, being busted with heroin in the newspaper.
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues Lesson: Read 1. 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. - James Baldwin’s real-life experience connects to his short story by demonstrating that in the story his father had passed away when he was a young age. In real life, he didn’t even know his father.
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.
James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” uses Sonny as an antagonist character to the protagonist, his eldest brother. While Sonny and his eldest brother both are the center of the stories content, Baldwin uses Sonny to represent a challenge to the narrator of the story. Through the rekindling of a brother’s relationships, Baldwin is able to depict Sonny's motivations and aspirations through his flaws, and the way in which his flaws affected his life.
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 Blues 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.
Throughout one’s life, one tends to adapt to the traditions of their family, and gain a significant bond with their loved ones, including their siblings. However, that connection a person gains can either be diminished or forgotten due to a sense of different mindsets between family members. The two stories “The Rich Brother” by Tobias Wolff and “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin indicate that sibling rivalry occurs when each member does not understand or acknowledge their sibling’s perspective, and this builds a wall barrier between the siblings.
Racism, a very horrible thing, still exists in the world we live in and those who are black will find it very hard to succeed in life due to the constant discrimination and the bad influence near them. A very good example for this is a short story called “Sonny’s Blue.” A short story about a 2 African Americans and how one leads a successful life while the other falls to bad influence and ends up in jail Black people had to face lot of problems before the segregation was ended. . Many people think the past remains in the past and doesn't matter today; the terrible acts of segregation, exploitation, and discrimination that were once upheld by the government are irrelevant now just because the present day isn't like that anymore. But the truth is that racism still exists
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. Baldwin’s intent on writing this piece focuses on pain and suffering. The author stresses that not everybody is born in the best circumstances. Sonny was one of those people who grew up in a rickety town where people often did not make it out successful.
Baldwin gives us an alternative space of darkness. This reference of darkness being depicted by the Narrator is his connection that the nightclub and what it stands for is symbolic to all the things negative associated in Harlem. The Narrator associates Jazz music and drugs as one of the same. “The waitress ran around, frantically getting in the last orders, guys and chicks got closer to each other, and the lights in the bandstand, on the quarter, turned to a kind of indigo.” The narrators idea of darkness is changed in this scene. His interpretation of darkness has changed. He begins to understand that with darkness of suffering and the light of liberation are allied which is why Baldwin incorporates the indigo light. The Narrator starts to understand Sonny’s musical form of expression. The music is now allowing him to feel instead of living in denial. Music has become the bridge between the two brothers.
In James Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues”, after the death of the narrator’s daughter; he decides to contact his estrange younger brother Sonny; a recovering heroin addict and musician who is in jail. After his release, the brothers reunite and readers learn the family history and experiences from the narrator’s perspective. Together, the brothers experience flow, a positive sensation developed by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentimihalyi, he described it as being immersed in an activity that results in other’s actions becoming irrelevant (Howell). Throughout the story, flow is continually encountered by Sonny and the narrator.
But through it all, they managed to remain close and get over their differences in order to build a stronger relationship. While the story was full of emotional ups and downs, there was a certain point that confirmed to the reader the solidity of their relationship. The story begins with the main character, Sonny’s older brother, talking about his and Sonny’s childhood. He puts an extra emphasis on Sonny’s downward spiral after their mother’s death.