Sonny's Blues Literary Analysis

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In Sonny’s Blues, the escape Sonny found in heroin, he now finds in music. James Arthur Baldwin (1924 – 1987) was a civil rights activist and an author. He was the oldest of nine children who was born and raised in Harlem, NY. The relationship with his adopted father was distant and strained which is similar to the relationship Sonny had with his father in Sonny’s Blues. Sonny’s Blues is a short story written by Baldwin in 157. It is often included in anthologies of fiction in college literature seminars. At the age of 14, he became a member of a Pentecostal church in Harlem and started preaching at the same time. In 1948 he moved to Paris to escape the prejudices towards homosexuality and blacks in America. In 1963 he received the …show more content…

The narrator first learns about this when he is home from the Army for their mother’s funeral. “After the funeral, with just me and Sonny alone in the empty kitchen, I tried to find out a something about him… “What do you want to do?” I asked him. “I’m going to be a musician,” he said” (Pg. 105). The narrator is in disbelief that his brother wants to play with Jazz musicians. He makes his disproval clear when he states “Well, you make think it’s funny now, baby, but it’s not going to be funny when you have to make your living doing it” (Pg. 106). The narrator calling his brother “baby” signifies that his decision is immature and quickly discredits what is really important to Sonny. He goes on to say “it seemed – beneath him, somehow” (Pg. 106). While still trying to understand what is important to Sonny, his brother asks him if he wanted to be like Louis Armstrong. This notion is quickly shot down and called “old-time, down-home crap” (Pg. 106) by Sonny. He then tells his brother he wants to be like “Bird!” “Charlie Parker!” Sonny’s brother has never heard of him. Sonny exclaims that “He’s just one of the greatest jazz musicians alive” (Pg.

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