“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin is a short story that has many significant parts to it. The narrator gives readers insight on how his relationship with his brother was like, how his brother was suffering from a heroin addiction. The narrator also gives the readers insight on his own problems. Due to Sonny’s heroin addiction, he suffered quite a lot as what was implied in the story. The narrator implies and describes so many themes in this short story. The main themes in this story is suffering, anger and isolation. First, suffering is one of the themes because Sonny suffered a heroin addiction. “He had been picked up the day before, in a raid on an apartment downtown, for peddling and using heroin(Baldwin,123).” The narrator told how Sonny got arrested for selling and using heroin. This is a suffer for Sonny because he fell in the wrong path and started hanging around with the wrong crowd and ended up doing drugs. Sonny knows that he is suffering and is hurting others in his wrong actions. I am glad our parents are dead because they won’t see what is happening to their …show more content…
Anger is a theme in this story because the narrator and Sonny have problems where they are anger at each other most of the time that they have a conversation. “Then I got mad. It was because I was so scared. “You must be crazy. You goddamn fool, what the hell do you want to go and join the army for? (Baldwin 136)” The narrator and Sonny had an argument on why is Sonny joining the army. They argue a lot and the narrator feels like it is unhealthy for him and Sonny. We had a fight, it was very bad. So bad that I did not see him for months (Baldwin 139). The narrator and Sonny had a pretty big fight and they did not to see each other for months. The narrator put this in the story to give the readers insight on how Sonny and him fought. This is just some of the textual evidence of anger between the narrator and
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Flashbacks are important in “Sonny’s Blues”, because they provide context for the events of the story. Flashbacks of the past help readers to understand the present. The author uses significant flashbacks to highlight the theme of the story, which is the obligation of the narrator’s love towards his brother, Sonny. In an important flashback, the narrator recalls the fight between Sonny and their father because they were so much alike in personality. The narrator also remembers his mother requesting him to watch out for his brother on the last day he saw her while on leave from the army.
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues Lesson: Read 1. How does Baldwin's real-life experience connect to his short story, "Sonny's Blues"? Read Baldwin's biography for more background on his life. - James Baldwin’s real-life experience connects to his short story by demonstrating that in the story his father had passed away when he was a young age. In real life, he didn’t even know his father.
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.
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.
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
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.
There was an unspoken hate between them and he did not like the way Sonny carried himself or the people he was friends with. He blames this, and the way Sonny is living, on his music claiming, "his music seemed to be merely an excuse for the life he led" (83). The narrator did his best to mend his broken relationship with Sonny, but it only resulted in a fight and Sonny said that "he was dead as far as I [the narrator] was concerned" (83). The narrator was fearful that Sonny would be just like all the other musicians around Harlem and the surrounding cities. After the disagreement he did not talk to Sonny, even following the news his arrest, until after his little girl, Grace died.
In James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” the author uses Sonny’s struggle for a redeemed life to push the narrator toward the realization of his own need for rescue; through this realization, the narrator can find his identity and be free from his sadness. The narrator needs rescue from his guilt of
Psychologist Robert Berezin says that, “Human struggle is not a brain problem, but a human problem.” (Berezin 1) In the short story “Sonny’s Blues,” the author James Baldwin reveals the dark truth about human nature, and through a psychoanalytic criticism perspective it can reveal how people cope with their suffering and problems. The main character, Sonny, is suffering from the hardships that many people face throughout life. Sonny’s suffering becomes so unbearable that he refuses to accept this inevitable situation, and seeks relief and control through the use of jazz and drugs.
Every time the narrator attempted to control what his brother wanted to do in life, the more he lost power over his brother. Not only did he lose power he lost that deep connection one should have with their sibling. Sonny’s desire to not be powerless anymore gave him the determination to gain power which he could not handle. This lead him to lose all of that power once again. People when reading this should really consider how what they are doing to gain power is affecting others in theirs lives.
“Sonny’s Blues” is not just about Sonny's decisions and struggles but also about how they affect the narrator. This story is as much about family and brotherhood and the relationship between these two men as it is about the character of
Sonny Blues Paul Pearshall once said “Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted”. In this story the conflict of responsibility takes place. A brother, who happens to be the narrator, blames his self for the events that takes place in his life, such as his brother sonny’s crack addiction. The Narrator feels responsible for his brother’s heroin addiction because he believed he shut his brother’s career goals down, felt as though he went against what his mother asked him to do, and because he chose not to believe that the way he treated his brother affected his brother life.
Throughout the story of “Sonny’s Blues”, James Baldwin develops a theme that can still be related with today. The misunderstanding and lack of knowledge that the narrator experiences, about his brother, is something that many today feel, as their own family members are being prosecuted and they do not comprehend why. Within the story, there are numerous subtle ideas that are used to progress the story and theme along to the ending that is given. James Baldwin advances the theme of his story, that misfortune and anguish can be renovated into a unique art form, using characterizations, settings, and symbolisms. One of the main literary devices that is used to express the theme is characterization.
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
In James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” the author uses Sonny’s struggle for a redeemed life to push the narrator toward the realization of his own need for rescue; through this realization, the narrator can find his identity and be free from his sadness. The narrator needs rescuing from himself. He hides behind a curtain of denial trying to protect himself from emotional reality. The narrator struggles to understand when and how Sonny began his troubles with drug addiction; he does not understand where he went wrong in being a role model for his younger brother. Now, years later the narrator is a school teacher who is trying to be a role model for the young boys in his class.