Using his writing as a form of self-expression, James Baldwin, an African American author, spent his life seeking to reveal the cruel reality of African American men. “Sonny Blues” Baldwin’s short fiction, was published in 1957 and takes place during the Harlem Renaissance. The literary work tells the story of Sonny and his brother (an unnamed narrator), as they seek to understand how to navigate the delicate and dangerous waters of familial relationships, their role in society and themselves. However, it is not until the end of the story when Sonny’s brother narrates the powerful, melodic sound of Sonny’s blues that he acknowledges his own pain. It is during his epiphany, when he finally begins to understand Sonny’s pain and the pain of every generation who came before him and after him. Baldwin’s acknowledgement as he declares, “I knew, no matter what anybody said, that the future I faced, was not the future they faced”
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.
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. From the very beginning of the tale, the sorrow is palpable through the unnamed narrator 's discovery of Sonny 's incarceration, and moreover through the atmosphere created by Mr. Baldwin. The most prominent message that can be deciphered and recognized in Sonny 's Blues is that the sadness and sorrow that one experiences in their life can bring about many obstacles but it can be countered and used for something greater by a search for understanding and acceptance. James Baldwin establishes this implication through the use of his characters; the narrator, Sonny, and the singer seen on the street. All these characters experience sorrow and sadness in their
Sonny 's Blues is a short story that was written by James Baldwin. The story has a number of conflicts but the main conflict that is explained in the story is communication between Sonny and his brother who is not named in the story and finding means to understand each other. The two brothers have different passion where playing jazz was Sonny 's passion and teaching algebra was his brother ‘s passion. The two brothers are separated by a number of factors such as their environments, cultural issues not forgetting the emotional detachment that existed between them. This paper will analyze the conflict and whether it was resolved at the end of the story (Baldwin, 2010).
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. Throughout the story he struggles to keep this promise. At the end of the story Sonny invites the narrator to come to a music club and hear him play, he accepts the invite. Upon arrival the narrator realizes he is in Sonny’s world. Hearing Sonny play only one set he is in awe and sends his brother a drink of scotch with milk. Sonny accepts it and gives a nod of approval to his brother across the room. In that moment the narrator finally understands Sonny’s love for music. Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” displays the theme of brotherly love to illustrate, that love can keep a family together no matter how many fights or issues there may be.
In James Baldwin's short story, Sonny’s Blues, the reader should understand and visualize the historical context in order to understand the world being presented. The reader has to comprehend the harsh life of a male African-American who struggles with his dreams and drug addiction sometime around early 1957. I will discuss Baldwin's writing style, the life/value of an african american's life during this time, and the relationship between Sonny and his brother.
Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin was a short story about the struggles of living in a tough, rundown neighborhood and looking to drugs as a way out.
Sonny is the main character in the story who has been through a lot in life. He wanted to be a jazz musician. After going through all the trouble, Sonny was a great musician and he loved to play music more than anything. He used music to escape from all the bad things around him. Most black people grow up in the slums and it is extremely hard to make it out of there without getting stuck on something bad. As said in the story “Some escaped the trap, most didn’t. those who got out always left something of themselves behind, as some animals amputate a leg and leave it in the trap” (Baldwin pg. 129). Both the narrator and sonny was able to escape the overpowering pull of Harlem in different ways. The narrator of the Sonny’s Blues was able to get out and he lived a happy life, having a family and a career while sonny got stuck and ended up doing drugs and eventually got himself arrested. The narrator was an algebra teacher. Being black in America for most people means you have to face discrimination, and live the hard life at slums. However, as time goes on, there are more and more successful African
Sonny’s escape in music is him moving away from the pain and suffering in his life and moving towards peace and order. In the beginning, Sonny’s brother was not too keen of the idea of Sonny playing jazz music because he thought he could do something more with his life, but he failed to realized that music was Sonny’s escape from life and all its chaos. However, at the end of the story Sonny asked his brother to join him at the jazz club and watch him play. At first his brother was hesitant to go with him, but gives in and goes to watch his brother. When Sonny started playing, his brother realizes how involved Sonny was with his music. The description Baldwin uses to describe how the Sonny’s brother was hearing him play for the first time was a realization for his brother and how exactly music makes Sonny feel and how he puts in every bit of emotion into his music. His brother was now realizing how much music played an important role in Sonny’s life and how it helped him out of his
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. Sonny’s ambition to become a jazz pianist points him into an opposite direction than his brother, and into a place where the common suffering is handled with drugs and music. The fundamental differences between these two brothers in their lack of understanding for each other and their gradual acceptance of one another, is presented and explained by their personal and social conflicts, what the symbolism casts upon the story,
James Baldwin is considered as the most well-known writer of the 20th century. His writings were mainly concerned by the problem of racism in America since he was one of the figures of the civil rights movement. “Sonny’s blues” is one of his greatest literary works, where we will notice how the persistent racism the writer experienced has had a great impact on his devoted writings.
With “Puppy” two ladies have different perspectives on how to raise their children. Saunders delivers one informative scene from each woman’s life before permitting the women to engage. As with, “Sonny’s Blues” the narrator and Sonny go through hardships after the death of their mother. “Puppy” by George Saunders and “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin switches between two perspectives of the characters. Marie and the narrator in both of the stories essentially feel that it is not worth the trouble to help out the other two characters.
Throughout the story Sonny’s Blue, there are many different symbols that represent different things, with the disparate functions. Light and darkness are the two universal symbols of Sonny’s Blues. Light has usually conveyed the goodness, hope, and purity of life. In the other hand, darkness performs for death, tragedy, and negativity. As light connects with darkness, it created an attraction for the readers. Additionally, music is a conventional symbol that brings happiness to Sonny, the main character in the story.
James Baldwin’s short story, “Sonny’s Blues,” tells the story of two brothers living in 1950s Harlem. The story depicts the relationship of the brothers as the younger brother, Sonny, battles to overcome a heroin addiction and find a career in jazz. In “Sonny’s Blues”, Baldwin’s shifting portrayal of Harlem mirrors the changing relationship of the two brothers: while both the city and the relationship were originally with dark uncertainty, by the end of the story, the narrator has begun to find peace both within his surroundings and his relationship with his brother.
According to the article, the first exposure to music exhibited as Sonny’s friend and the narrator approached a bar. The intriguing sound caused Sonny’s friend to look inside out of curiosity. As stated by Baldwin, “The jukebox was blasting away with something black and bouncy and I half watched the barmaids as she danced her way from the jukebox to her place behind the bar ” (pp.125). In this view of the passage, the sound of music increased the cultural cohesion between people. The music lured the characters into the bar acting as a social glue. Although the narrator appeared to have no real interest in entering the bar, the inviting present of the music felt welcoming and embracing enough to enter. Social gathering continues to be demonstrated throughout the story of “Sonny’s Blue” because of the hidden messages illustrated.