In James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” the author uses Sonny’s struggle for a redeemed life to push the narrator toward the realization of his own need for rescue; through this realization, the narrator can find his identity and be free from his sadness. The narrator needs rescuing from himself. He hides behind a curtain of denial trying to protect himself from emotional reality. The narrator struggles to understand when and how Sonny began his troubles with drug addiction; he does not understand where he went wrong in being a role model for his younger brother. Now, years later the narrator is a school teacher who is trying to be a role model for the young boys in his class.
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
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.
It is upon their reunion that the narrator, an algebra teacher, realizes how much his path has diverged from Sonny’s heartfelt blues. Yet, despite their different domains and interests, the narrator accompanies Sonny back to a bar and discovers the beauty of Sonny’s dream and the life contained within
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.
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.
In fiction, the narrator controls how the audience connects to and perceives the various characters in a story. A good author can manipulate the narration to connect the audience to certain characters and deepen the reader’s understanding of their conflicts. In “Previous Condition” and “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin illustrates themes of loneliness and isolation in the pursuit of finding a space that feels like home. Although this theme is clear in both stories, Baldwin is able to portray it very differently in each story through the relationship he allows the reader to the characters struggling with these feelings. While “Previous Condition” provides a more intimate relationship to the narrator, “Sonny’s Blues” is able to deliver an additional level of understanding by telling the story through Sonny’s brother, therefore disconnecting the reader in a way that forces him or her to share the characters’ feelings of isolation and confusion.
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.
In modern-day life people often have their ups and downs of having power and losing it all. This is a key element in life, which is why many art forms choose to use it as their basis of writing. Literature often shows power and powerlessness through heroes and villains. However, author James Baldwin brings the battle of having and losing power through ordinary people’s life experiences. In the short story, Sonny’s Blues, written by James Baldwin examines the idea of how the desire to have power or control leads to having no power at all through the plot, characters, and setting.
Sonny’s letter written to the narrator in response to the news of the narrator’s daughter dying serves an important role in the story by reestablishing the relationship between the brothers and giving the reader insight into the misery that Sonny felt as a result of his actions. It is revealed to the reader that before the narrator had written his letter to Sonny, that the two had not been on speaking terms for a long time. After hearing of the news, Sonny wrote the letter back to the narrator which formally began their newfound connection to each other. It is revealed within the letter Sonny’s reasoning’s behind his imprisonment as well as the sadness he felt within. Sonny describes himself as “trying to climb up out of some deep, real deep
In the story, "Sonny's Blues," James Baldwin portrays Harlem as a place where people are no longer happy and have become trapped. Set after the depression and most likely during and/or after the second world war, Harlem was a time for African Americans to thrive in creative arts; but, it also gave way for poverty and a plethora of drug use. In "Sonny's Blues," the two brothers find their own ways to escape the despair of Harlem; but, through their liberation, they both ultimately complicate their relationship as brothers. Baldwin begins the story with the narrator going to work, as a school teacher, and reading news in the paper that thoroughly upsets him. The narrator at this time believes that he has escaped the entrapment of Harlem through
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’s Blues” is not just about Sonny's decisions and struggles but also about how they affect the narrator. This story is as much about family and brotherhood and the relationship between these two men as it is about the character of
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’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.