Character analysis essay of the short story “Sonny’s blues” by James Baldwin James Baldwin is considered as the most well-known writer of the 20th century. His writings were mainly concerned by the problem of racism in America since he was one of the figures of the civil rights movement. “Sonny’s blues” is one of his greatest literary works, where we will notice how the persistent racism the writer experienced has had a great impact on his devoted writings. “Sonny’s blues” takes place in Harlem, an Afro-American neighborhood in New York City. Harlem plays a crucial role in this short story, because it is depicted as place where the narrator and his brother must struggle to escape the hustle and bustle of their own reality.
James Baldwin’s short story, “Sonny’s Blues,” tells the story of two brothers living in 1950s Harlem. The story depicts the relationship of the brothers as the younger brother, Sonny, battles to overcome a heroin addiction and find a career in jazz. In “Sonny’s Blues”, Baldwin’s shifting portrayal of Harlem mirrors the changing relationship of the two brothers: while both the city and the relationship were originally with dark uncertainty, by the end of the story, the narrator has begun to find peace both within his surroundings and his relationship with his brother. At the beginning of the story, before Sonny returns to Harlem, the narrator never describes his surroundings, only the people in them.
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.
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 the essay “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin, he expresses feelings of hate and despair towards his father. His father died when James was 19 years old from tuberculosis; it just so happens that his funeral was on the day of the Harlem Riot of 1943. Baldwin explains that his father isn’t fond of white people due to the racist past. He recalls a time when a white teacher brought him to a theater and that caused nothing but upset with his father, even though it was a kind act. Many events happened to Baldwin as a result of segregation, including a time where a waitress refused to serve him due to his skin color and Baldwin threw a pitcher of water at her.
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.
In A Letter to My Nephew, James Baldwin, the now deceased critically acclaimed writer, pens a message to his nephew, also named James. This letter is meant to serve as a caution to him of the harsh realities of being black in the United States. With Baldwin 's rare usage of his nephew 's name in the writing, the letter does not only serve as a letter to his relative, but as a message to black youth that is still needed today. Baldwin wrote this letter at a time where his nephew was going through adolescence, a period where one leaves childhood and inches closer and closer to becoming an adult.
This neighborhood was full of violence, all other kids were up to no good. However Geoffrey and his three brothers weren't, they came into the neighborhood as a clean slate. They moved here around when Geoffrey was four years old and this where the term “violence” was introduced. With their mom raising them with no dad that lead for the boys to grow up with no guidance from a male figure in this tough neighborhood. The quote “Paradise didn’t last long the day after our arrival my mother sent my brother Daniel to the store with ten dollars...
However, the focal point within the story occurs when the narrator gets to have a vulnerable moment with the blind man that he has never encountered before, and it makes him feel liberated. Entry #2 In “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin the author
Baldwin uses the plot line to show the effects of how wanting power or control can destroy ones relationship. The narrator in the story reads an article about his brother, Sonny, who has gotten into trouble with drugs. He thinks back to when Sonny and himself were growing up. His mother told him a story about his father and made him promise to never “let [Sonny] fall…no matter how evil you gets with him” (Baldwin 442).
Diamond Williams Professor Wolfe LIT2001 3 January 16 Fiction Analysis “Sonny’s Blues” is a short story written by James Baldwin that reflects on the ongoing struggles between failure and atonement amongst two brothers. The older brother who is also the narrator, gives us insight on the struggles in Harlem, and the life he had with his drug addicted younger brother, Sonny. As we follow the narrator, we later discover who Sonny really is. Published in the mid nineteen hundreds, the burdensome of living in Harlem in “Sonny’s Blues” reflects the life that James Baldwin endured.
I chose to write my Response Essay on the story "Sonny's Blues" written by James Baldwin. In Sonny's Blues, the storyteller recounts the tale of his association with his sibling, Sonny. Sonny is a performer not able to get away from the ghetto. Disheartened by his sibling's suffering , the storyteller connects with him, yet discovers that Sonny's hurt powers his music. The narrator is a teacher in Harlem that has changed his life and got out of the ghetto where he grew up.
So this makes his real- life experience connect so closely to the story he had written. He experienced loss in real life along with in his story. In the story, the narrator had also lost his daughter to polo, although he didn’t exactly explain his feelings, he showed that it did affect him. Which makes me think that maybe Baldwin was the type of person to hide his feelings and act tough even though things affected him. He tried not to dwell on things, but realize that he can feel
For James Baldwin’s many devotees, Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems is representative of the American novelist and essayist we all know: the narrative voice in Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953) and the unabashed writer-activist of The Fire Next Time (1963). As we look back
Instead, he implores them to be more political. His goal in writing is to make people aware of the social injustices occurring. The Negro writer who seeks to function within his race as a purposeful aren has a serious responsibility. In order to do justice to his subject matter, in order to depict Negro life in all of its manifold and intricate relationships, a deep, informed, and complex consciousness is necessary; a consciousness which draws for its strength upon the fluid lore of a great people, and more this lore with concepts that move and direct the forces of history today (Wright,