The Importance Of Flow In Sonny's Blues By James Baldwin

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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. One of the first times he experiences flow is during high school; when he had to move in with Isabel’s family, the narrator’s girlfriend at the time. At first, Sonny did not want to live with Isabel’s family,…show more content…
The revival includes three sisters and a brother, who all are experiencing flow. The siblings are holding their bibles, singing and playing the tambourine (Baldwin 40). The narrator listens to the crowd sing and he realizes that the “music seemed to soothe a poison out of them; and time seemed, nearly, to fall away” (Baldwin 40). They were concentrated in performing for the crowd and had passion for their religion, that they lost track of time in the performance. Time is a valuable characteristic of flow, it is common that time goes by quickly if someone were experiencing flow (Howell.) The religious revival had developed flow when “time seemed, nearly, to fall away”, for example. This scene is also where the narrator begins to understand the effect that music has on people. He has always been against Sonny’s choice in becoming a musician, but was beginning to understand why Sonny loved it so

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