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.
It was time for a cultural celebration. African Americans had endured centuries of slavery and the struggle for abolition. (www.ushistory.org,2016) The Great Migration eventually moved thousands of African Americans to the rural South to the urban North. Many discovered they had shared many things in common in their past histories.
Tristan Iolonardi ENG 102 F2 research paper The Jazz Harmonies of Connection and Disconnection in "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" is told from Sonny's brother point of view the "narrator. " This story is about the hardships of black individuals that faced discrimination, unemployment, etc. The story starts of with the two brothers being separated, one living by himself and one stuck in jail.
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” - Marcus Garvey. The Harlem Renaissance was a period of time in which racial pride and culture were thrust away in favor of a more traditional style of art. However, during this time, racial pride was best expressed through folk art via the means of relatable structure, understandable word choice and everyday subject matter. Common poets of the time chose not to imitate the formal and restrictive style of the European influenced “high art” and instead believed in a more down-to-earth, conversational style of writing. In these choices, poets began to shape a new form of art called “folk art” that gave readers content inspired by daily life
Throughout 1920 and 1940, the Harlem Renaissance flourished. Also known as the “Roaring Twenties” and the “Jazz age,” the Harlem Renaissance's roots came from African American’s culture spreading throughout America, teaching everyone their fun filled life of singing, dancing, and writing. The Jazz industry exploded, introducing performers and writers like Louis Armstrong, Langston Hughes, and Aaron Douglas to the world (History.com Staff). Women were searching for the more rights and they finally received the gift of a lifetime, the right to vote. In addition, inventions like the airplane were improving exponentially.
White Supremacy in the New South resulted in hundreds of thousands of African Americans moving to the North after suffering years of slavery and fighting for abolition. The Harlem section of Manhattan drew in nearly 175,000 African Americans. The relocation of African Americans to this area sparked a celebration of cultural pride, now known as the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was the rebirth of African American culture, especially in the literary and creative arts, which occurred at the end of World War I and the middle of the 1930s (c. 1918-1935). Many musicians, writers, and actors are recognized as prominent and influential figures during this period including Langston Hughes, Claude Mckay, Jean Toomer, Zora Neale Hurston,
shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Unlike other notable black poets of the period, Hughes refused to differentiate between his personal experience and the common experience of black America. He wanted to tell the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering, love of music, laughter, and language itself (Ham). Along with literary works, the music of the Harlem Renaissance appealed to a wide audience and marked a proliferation of African-American cultural influence. No aspect of the Harlem Renaissance shaped America and the entire world as much as jazz.
Writing content of fictional nature is aimed at providing the readers with an entertaining perspective that engages them. James Baldwin approaches his fictional work in Sonny’s Blues through a complex style that embraces similes and a conversational approach with the characters covered remaining objective while actively engaging the readers. In this literary analysis, his works in Sonny Blues is examined in detail. James Baldwin’s style of writing embraces a conversation approach aimed at engaging the audience in his works. “What do you mean, that’s all?” he asks with a response “I mean that’s all” (Baldwin, p.817).
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.
“Sonny’s Blues,” written by James Baldwin discusses conflicts between two brothers in hopes of mending their relationship. “Sonny’s Blues” begins with the unnamed narrator reading a piece of paper with information regarding the trouble his brother Sonny has gotten himself into. The narrator has not been communicating with his brother during this period, but after the death of his two-year-old daughter Grace, he writes Sonny a letter. Once Sonny has been released, he goes back to Harlem to live with the narrator, and the narrator forces him into staying with his fiancé Isabel and her family because he believes Sonny deserves the opportunity to receive an education. Sonny makes it known to the narrator that he does not want to go back to school
Sonny's Blues is a first person narrative that tells the story of a relationship between the narrator and his younger brother Sonny. Set in the middle of Harlem the story takes place during the early 1950's. The story begins with the narrator learning about his brother getting arrested for the use and selling of heroin. This creates a flashback to major events in the childhood of the two brothers. The narrator remember his brother at the age of the boys in his algebra class, how Sonny’s face was bright and open, but back to reality the narrator wonders how his brother looks as a prisoner.
We all have memories that make us cringe like nails on a chalkboard as they traverse our brain. The narrator read the article about Sonny and everything from the past came flooding back to him, “Sonny was wild, but he wasn’t crazy” (146) the narrator states in disbelief. Another example of this cringing feeling is near the end of “Sonny’s Blues” as the narrator elaborates “that trouble stretched above us, longer than the sky” (175). The narrator quotes this as he reminisces on the many years of suffering he and Sonny endured. Even though James Baldwin’s short story is spread in the span of a decade, the narrator can vividly remember the memories that make him recoil as he states “The same things happen, they’ll have the same thing to remember”