The story starts with an anonymous Algebra teacher who begins to narrate the movie stating the news about his brother. Sonny’s arrest happened while in the midst of selling heroin as the news was told. He is disturbed the whole time because of this news that his brother continues to remind him of his students who, will probably meet the same fate.. With the hostile environment that his students encounter every single day, and often doubts their success in the future. As he ends his day in school, he is met by his brother’s friend at the gate of the school. Sonny’s friend is a fellow addict giving the narrator reasons to become dismissive with this old friend.
Though mostly everyone can relate jazz to its common stereotype of the musician’s possibility of abusing drugs I feel like that is the only significance. The elements of this story that are most important are the understanding of suffering, forgiveness, and redemption. Compare and contrast the characters of the two brothers in "Sonny's Blues." What sort of person is the narrator? How does he feel about his brother?
Sonny’s Blues is a story written by James Baldwin a man who is known for his involvement in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. The setting of this book takes place in the 50s right after the Korean war when soldiers are coming home from the war. What strengthens this story more is Baldwin's background and his involvement in the Civil rights movement. Sonny’s blues follow from the perspective of Sonny’s older brother which is interesting considering that while Sonny is the main character, his brother is the narrator and also it doesn’t specify what Sonny’s older brother name is. This story puts the reader in the heart of Harlem a poor area.
In Sonny’s Blues, James Baldwin portrays the issues one has when coping with a loved ones addiction. The first step is recognizing the loved one has a problem. In the beginning of the story the narrator is struck by a report in the news paper. He said “I read it, and I couldn’t believe it, and I read it again.” (Baldwin 93). An addict attempts to keep their problems unknown and this was the first he had heard of his brother in ages.
“Sonny’s Blues” tells the story of two estranged brothers who lead very different lives with only one similarity: darkness. However, even the darkness was dissimilar, arising from the differences in their lives. Sonny found his passion in music, which he pursued despite his family’s disapproval, but his lifestyle led him to a drug addiction. On the other hand, his brother, the narrator, has an average life with a nice home and family. The narrator’s darkness comes from his inability to deal with emotions; he tells himself that he and the people around him have no suffering in their lives, despite the darkness being everywhere he looks.
On the heroin-riddled streets of Harlem, the narrator of “Sonny’s Blues” has given up hope for his brother, because he believes that the rampant drug community has consumed him. As their distant relationship drifts closer, the narrator begins to see through Sonny’s eyes, but fails to see the benefit in Sonny seemingly throwing himself into the fire by becoming a musician. It is only during Sonny’s struggle that his need for this artistic expression becomes apparent. While staying with Isabel’s family, the frantic reverberations screamed a message to all that could hear, “As I sensed...Sonny was at that piano playing for his life”(1946). As comrade after comrade falls to the inherent greed created by desire, Sonny stays sane only by continuing to express his dreams and bemoan his failures through music.
Baldwin completes his story by showing a ray of reconciliation between the two brothers. The narrator sends Sonny a drink. Sonny sees an improvement in their relationship. Oates completes her story by showing us Connie's submission to Arnold. She accepts her fate and sacrifices herself to save her family.
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
The older brothers both have a hard time understanding their younger brothers, and it is hard for them to create a bond that would help the communication between the two. Although both older brothers struggle with this, the brother in “The Rich Brother” struggles less than the brother in “Sonny’s Blues”. In “Sonny’s Blues”, the younger brother is incarcerated for using and selling of drugs, and is in need of help from his older brother. Before the mother died, she told the older brother to promise he won’t let anything happen to Sonny, so he has an obligation to help him out. Sonny tells his brother that he wants to play piano, going against the norm, but his brother finds him crazy because he has never picked up an instrument in his life.
Cathedral”, written by Raymond Carver is a short story that emphasized the use of drugs. “Sonny’s Blues”, written by James Baldwin is a short story that devalued the use of drugs. Without the drugs in “Cathedral”, the narrator and Robert would have never been able to communicate, the picture would have never been drawn, and the narrator would have never understood the blind man. However, in “Sonny’s Blues”, Sonny does not need drugs to communicate, to play the piano, and to understand who he is. Carver and Baldwin explore the use of drugs differently in regard to personal communication, artistic expression, and self actualization.