The short story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin is about a young man whom is struggling in life. The narrator, who is unnamed throughout the story, and Sonny’s older brother tells the readers in depth about his brothers battle. In the late 1900s during poverty and systematic oppression, many African Americans were subjected to one specific area in modern day known as Harlem. Not only is story about discrimination African Americans faced, it is about two brothers gaining a better understanding on each others lives. Baldwin demonstrates that acceptance over a family member’s decisions can strengthen the bond between two estranged brothers.
The narrator stated, “I seemed to hear with what burning he had made it his, with what burning we had yet to make it ours, how we could cease lamenting” (Baldwin 382). This was only the beginning of what the narrator felt as Sonny played. He discussed how he could feel Sonny’s pain and struggle through every note he hit. He described the things he saw, such as their deceased parents, Grace, and just about every important event in his life flashed before his eyes. Sonny casted a spell over his brother with just the notes from his music playing.
Rhythm of the Soul “Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can't” (Depp). In some cases, music can convey people’s emotions, feelings, and thoughts stronger than words can. In James Baldwin’s short story, “Sonny’s Blues”, the narrator and his younger brother Sonny struggle with a communication barrier. Sonny can express his emotions by the language of music that his older brother, the narrator, has a difficult time understanding. The narrator, who is a stable school teacher, has a hard time relating to his younger brother and the other kids from their neighborhood, who became heroin addicts.
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
Paper #3: The use of Language in Sonny’s Blues This story is about a man named Sonny who was arrested for using heroine. Once in jail Sonny knew he no longer wanted to live the life he was living, so he looked for help from his older brother who is the narrator of the story. When Sonny gets released from jail he moves in with his older brother and his family. While living with his older brother Sonny starts to get involved with music again. When he was younger his older brother didn’t approve of the idea of becoming a musician, which lead to Sonny’s drug addiction.
Workmanship assumes an imperative part in "Sonny's Blues", going about as a scaffold between the two siblings. Sonny's powerlessness to talk and the storyteller's (Sonny’s Brother) failure to listen, keep the siblings from genuinely corresponding with or understanding each other for most of their lives. Music is what Sonny can make himself to be. Seeing the music of the road recovery actually brings the siblings closer, inciting their first fair discussion. Sonny's music helps the storyteller comprehend his life and trials (Page 236 In reference).
In James Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues”, after the death of the narrator’s daughter; he decides to contact his estrange younger brother Sonny; a recovering heroin addict and musician who is in jail. After his release, the brothers reunite and readers learn the family history and experiences from the narrator’s perspective. Together, the brothers experience flow, a positive sensation developed by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentimihalyi, he described it as being immersed in an activity that results in other’s actions becoming irrelevant (Howell). Throughout the story, flow is continually encountered by Sonny and the narrator. There are many scenes in the text that Sonny did experience flow, some had started in his earlier lifetime.
Once, in a social occasion of chapel individuals, his mom shared about the demise of his uncle that his dad battled for very long. His uncle was not only a casualty of attempt at manslaughter but rather a casualty of dogmatism. He kicked the bucket in the road since he was a Black alcoholic man jabbed fun about by White alcoholic men. The mother reminded the speaker that her disclosure isn 't signified "to make you frightened or intense or to influence you to abhor anyone" however only for a more youthful sibling Sonny. Unwittingly, it is an epiphany that the Narrator would later recognize.
He finds his true identity when he is apart from Finny. Gene notes, “During the time I was with him, Phineas created an atmosphere in which I continued how to live, a way of sizing up the world with erratic and entirely personal reservations, letting its rock life facts sift through and be accepted only little at a time, only as he could assimilate without sense of chaos and loss” (Knowles 121). Gene finds his identity and embraces it through remembrance of Finny. He accepts who he has become. He also finds peace by fighting his own private war growing up.
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. The story’s narrator is a black algebra teacher, whose name is never revealed, who is living in Harlem, a New York City neighborhood. In the beginning of the story the narrator reads about his brother, Sonny, being busted with heroin in the newspaper. He hasn’t seen his brother in about a year, but as he is walking out of his school he notices a familiar face and it turns out being one of his brother’s old friend.