Everyone needs rescuing sometime in life? The narrator in “Sonny’s Blues” struggles with his own identity and finding himself. He has a sense of insecurity and conformity to escape his past and from where he comes. The narrator finds himself focusing on his brother’s mistakes in life when in reality; he is questioning his inner insecurities. The narrator believes he must rescue his brother but realizes first he must find rescue himself.
In his story “Sonny’s Blues”, James Baldwin writes a fictitious story about an unnamed narrator and his younger brother Sonny, both whom are African American and seem to not get along with one another. The story is set somewhere in the 1940s-1950s Harlem area, where there is racial inequality, poverty, and despair. Baldwin in this story tackles the themes of division, suffering, and reconnection. Both brothers were born in harlem, but the older brother rejects harlem and becomes part of white society. while sonny embraces Harlem and suffers Harlem 's pains, writing music that speaks to Harlem; through this music he is able to reconnect to his brother.
In this scene, the narrator is invited to watch Sonny’s musical performance at a nightclub, and eventually learns that redemption can be done through music as Sonny’s piano performance has a healing effect on his soul. He finally acknowledges and appreciates the beauty of Sonny’s music which he used to look down upon: “It was very beautiful because it wasn’t hurried and it was no longer a lament. I seemed to hear with what burning he had made it his, with what burning we had yet to make it ours, how we could cease lamenting. Freedom lurked around us and I understood, at last, that he could help us to be free if we would listen that he would never be free until we did.”
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.
Demonstrating his love for music, it’s the only thing holding him together as his only purpose in life is creating music because his life in prison has changed him and he is unwilling to chase after any other goals besides music. While also displaying the literary device metaphor because the words, “shaken to pieces,” is an implicit comparison between each other. All in all, James Baldwin also develops metaphors throughout the duration of “Sonny’s Blues,” to tie in with his theme of suffering can lead to creation.
James Baldwin : “Sonny's Blues” This character in Baldwin’s story, “Sonny’s Blues”, Sonny himself is having a battle within himself. This man deals with physical and emotional imprisonments occurring in his life making him in a sense free, but then again not. Whereas he deals with physically being locked up in prison and the other hand having his true main goal in a sense on a “hold” or even locked up for now. These prisons for this man are oppressing him from achieving what he really truly desires, he knows and has his goal in his hands, but he’s far from fully grasping onto it.
Doesn’t everyone need to be rescued sometime in life? The narrator in “Sonny’s Blues” struggles with his own identity and finding himself. He has a sense of insecurity and conformity to escape his past and where he comes from. The narrator finds himself focusing on his brother’s mistakes in life when in reality; he is questioning his inner insecurities. The narrator believes he must rescue his brother but realizes first he must find rescue himself.
Furthermore, the novel continues to point out the theme of loneliness. Adam begins to share a story to his brothers about their father’s infallibility. Suffering from being unable to see the bad in people displays his character flaw. Cathy is expressed as a symbol of evil. As she was introduced it explained that she was born with only bad in her.
It was a place of transition and also one of ignorance and hatred. The laws of Jim Crow were in place and segregation and hatred were the reality of the African American. In Notes of a Native Son Baldwin writes about his experience being asked to leave a diner, and reacting volatile to the waitress (97). This racist and unaccepting state was formative in Baldwin’s writings and in his state of being. However his homosexuality also played a key role in his state of exile, much like the African Americans the homosexual of this time was an outsider and thrown into a state of less than personhood (Gaines 177).
We learn to understand that people are not bad, but they can do bad things under particular circumstances. Yes, Sonny abuses drugs, but why? Yes, Sonny goes to jail, but why? As you learn more about Sonny, it becomes clear that he is troubled and was primarily raised by his brother, who refuses to listen and understand Sonny. He feels this immense amount of pressure to stray away from who he is and his only method of coping is to stop caring about what the world thinks of
He went into the navy after that, and after coming out of the navy, was arrested for using and selling heroin. All the anguish, trouble, and suffering that Sonny went through to become who he was, was put into a song and that was Sonny’s blues.