Sonny Blues Literary Analysis

1082 Words5 Pages
True Acceptance Pressure is everywhere within our lives—the pressure to do right and there is even pressure to do wrong , not to conform and to conform. “Sonny Blues” gives light to many of the pressures of life in Harlem in the 1950’s. The pressure to live like your parents, live like your peers, or to have an individual freedom is faced in this short story. During these times in Harlem many faced oppression, drugs, and the disillusionment of life, but still had to go on with their struggles. The ability to embrace their struggles help them to accept one another. In “Sonny Blues”, the brothers create a sense of havoc when faced with the theme of individualism, which could only be restored through the accepting of one another. The narrator…show more content…
As he reminisces back when Sonny was in high school, he could not relate to him. He states, “I sensed myself in the presence of something I didn't really know how to handle, didn't understand” (301). The narrator did not want to accept Sonny’s decision of becoming a jazz musician (301). He fights tooth and nail to persuade him from making an illogical life choice that could lead him down the wrong path. A path that he could not make a living at and which the mother wants him to be protected from (301). The brothers are faced with disunity. Sonny is entangled with the culture, whereas the brother tries to avoid it. Both brothers are challenged with embracing Sonny’s individuality. However, one embraces it and the other fight against it. Sonny knows what he wants. Nonetheless, the narrator only understands that playing jazz was “beneath him “(302). The narrator can’t reason with Sonny in any way. They both want their desires to be fulfilled. Yet, Sonny senses that the narrator is frightened for him and he says, “I hear you. But you never hear what I say” (303). Sonny just wants to have his desires heard, but the narrator refuses to listen to him. Sonny then states, “But what I don't seem to be able to make you understand is that it's the only thing I want to do” (302). Sonny displayed that he could not go with the status of the narrator, but he was an individual. An individual who could be free to…show more content…
As Sonny comes in from the street revival, he asks the narrator,” if he wants to hear him play (307). This conversation opens the narrator up to hear what Sonny has to say. As for those things, he could not voice, “he hoped his eyes would tell me” (307). He is no longer trying to push Sonny’s will in the direction he wants, but accepts Sonny’s raw thoughts, feelings, and emotions that he exposed to him. Not only does the narrator must accept suffering, Sonny must also accept it. The narrator then states, “I realized, with this mocking look, that there stood between us, forever, beyond the power of time or forgiveness, the fact that I had held silence—so long! “(308). This implies that the true suffering was not the use drugs, but the fact that they held on to all, of their own suffering themselves for so long without relying on one
Open Document