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. Baldwin’s intent on writing this piece focuses on pain and suffering. The author stresses that not everybody is born in the best circumstances. Sonny was one of those people who grew up in a rickety town where people often did not make it out successful. He tried so hard to get out of the poverty, violence, drugs, and gangs, but he became influenced by the wrong people and fell into heroin. Baldwin wanted the show the readers that people cope with pain and suffering in different ways. However, Sonny had a passion for music and wanted to become a jazz musician. This was also his way of coping with …show more content…
For example, the narrator talked about how Sonny stayed at his sister-in-law's house and played his heart out on their piano. This flashback showed his love for music anywhere he was. It helped him escape the pain he was feeling in Harlem and some of his responsibilities of school by staying home and playing. Baldwin also used stereotypes to get his message across. Harlem was not a friendly, rich, white town, so the fact that he chose this setting it made the reader automatically assume that these brothers did not grow up in a stable environment. The narrator described the very stereotypical gang members in Harlem being “filled with rage” and “popping off needles every time they went to the head” (Baldwin 123). Lastly, the change in the author's tone was very evident. The readers could notice when the narrator was talking about life in Harlem or Sonny’s drug abuse because it had a very bitter and cold tone. However, when Sonny was talking about his music the tone was hopeful and positive. Baldwin wanted to show that music was the one thing helping with Sonny’s pain. Heroin was only a temporary solution to numb his suffering, but music did no harm to let out anger, fear, and
In the short story “Sonny’s Blues” the narrator Sonny’s brother talks about their life together and also the environment they live in. the title of the story is name after the brother of the narrator, it is through the narrator’s eyes about his brother Sonny. As a young African American male born in Harlem, sonny is aware of the limits and obstacles he faces. He struggles with the being around the same environment, so he decided by moving away from Harlem his problems will go away and he can start his career as a musician, unlike his brother the narrator has a wife, two children, and a good job as a teacher. The narrator talks about the drug dealing that happens in the playgrounds near the housing projects and of course his brother’s battle
Despite Sonny’s pleas, he forced his brother to move in with his then-fiancée Isabel and her family. Sonny eventually ran away to join the military after being confronted by Isabel’s mother for missing school. James Baldwin uses all six of these aspects to give the reader an amazing story that demonstrates that people no matter how hard things are for them or how “bad” and “un-educated” they seem to be, there is always a deeper person with incredible talents and
The narrator in “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin describes the blues as "the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph" (Baldwin 99). “Sonny’s Blues” is centered around two African American brothers in Harlem, New York during the 1950s. Baldwin writes about the brothers’ struggles, kinship, their redemption and triumph over the cruelties of life. The narrator played the role of the father figure and always thought practically and wanted Sonny to make something of himself.
Both, drugs and music, can be described as a “sort of warm and cool” feeling “to make you feel in control” (53). “Warm” is used as a way to characterize his feeling of “comfortable, and safeness” (OED online, 1921). The word “cool” is symbolic for the release of dopamine when something pleasurable happens. The word “feel” gives a “mental perception, comprehension” (OED Online,2015) of the “control,” which has been stripped from him by his pain and suffering. Using the word “in,” shows the temporary feeling that is “situated within” (OED online, 1899)
“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin introduces the reader to an unnamed, very emotionally involved narrator who is “Sonny’s” brother. Although the short story has Sonny’s name in the title, his story is told by his brother from his brother’s own personal point of view. The narrator of “Sonny’s Blues” provides insight about Sonny and their life together growing up in Harlem. The story takes place in the present and the past, often shifting back and forth between the two. It’s a story about family, relationships, and brotherhood.
It shows how music helps Sonny and even his older brother find peace and prosperity. Sonny’s brother explains that the blues are “The tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard”(583). This tale begins with the brothers torment and agony they faced growing up in Harlem, but ends with the rejoice of brotherly love and how that overpowers the pain and darkness of their lives. Sonny’s brother feels like the solution to their problem, the communication through music, isn’t permanent but explains that its the only light they have surrounded by all the darkness. Baldwin interprets Sonny’s hardships through his music, and that becomes a channel for a way to help others understand Sonny as a person.
Have you ever wonder how does a crime scene investigator, known as a CSI, discover blood spatter on different fabrics, which is not visible to the human eye? The key is bluestar. According to the article “Influence of Bluestar Reagent on Blood Spatter Stain of Different Fabrics” by Arnon Grafit, bluestar is a “luminol-based reagent that is applied by spraying on surface.” Not only that, but “it helps obtain DNA and to analyze spatters patterns. By analyzing the article the reader is able to understand how bluestar works through the rhetorical techniques used.
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin both describe the life of African American families in major cities following World War II. In both stories the two families are put at odds against one another because of the environment that surrounds them. In “Sonny’s Blues”, Sonny and his older brother, the narrator, are at odds because Sonny has fallen victim to the chaos of the Harlem streets. In A Raisin in the Sun, the Youngers’ are against one another because the family believes that they can escape the crowded space of their Southside apartment in their own ways. Through both stories the settings cause the characters to react in ways that fit their surroundings.
James Baldwin is a well recognized American novelist and social critic. He creates a unique approach in his writing bringing the readers into the story both in terms of visuals and emotions. James Baldwin's short story , Sonny's Blues demonstrates his unique style approach and deals with the theme of exposing the reader to the profound challenges of poverty and racism. Baldwin enables the reader to trade shoes with the narrator and Sonny; experiencing their hard and brutal upbringing in Harlem, New York.
"Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin is a harrowing tale about a boy's struggle to overcome his drug addiction. The central plot isn't the most relatable topic but Baldwin expands the plot by touching up on different themes that further explicates the story to the point where any reader can find a way to relate to the characters. The story is told from the first point of view of the brother of Sonny. The narrator states his account from the commencement of Sonny's drug use to his fall out. James Baldwin does not focus only on the central theme of drug abuse.
The negativity of light and darkness in Sonny’s Blues magnifies the suffering in the community of Harlem and reveals the how everyone, child and adult are touched by the suffering. While the narrator was reminiscing about his mother and family when they used to sit in the living room, he noticed the darkness in the night. He saw the darkness fill the silence and hoped that he won’t be touched by darkness one day (19). Baldwin wrote, “Light fills the room, the child is filled with darkness, He knows that every time this happens he’s moved just a little closer to that darkness outside” (19).
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. Baldwin’s short story illustrates the hardships a person faces while searching for themselves in a world full of people or obstacles that stand in their way. Some of these obstacles are self inflicted, present from the beginning of their existence or appear as though they are random.
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.
It also shows the dependence Sonny has on the piano and his addiction to the music. Sonny and the narrator finally come to a mutual understanding of one another in this scene. Baldwin’s diction and vocabulary choices contrast one another and ties back to a central theme of the story: dark vs. light. He chooses words such as “life”, “beautiful”, and “freedom” to represent the positivity of the music, but he uses words like “lurked”, “lament”, and “burning” to emphasize the negative vibes Sonny releases while he plays. The
‘Sonny’s Blues’ was written by James Baldwin about the story of two brothers. The narrator and his brother Sonny are the main characters and their pain and sorrow are the part of their life. The narrator and his brother learn to deal with their pain and suffering. I believe that the narration was perfect because the author uses dialogue and mind reading of the main character because he is stating how the narrator feels also his father, his mother and also Sonny feels.