James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” uses Sonny as an antagonist character to the protagonist, his eldest brother. While Sonny and his eldest brother both are the center of the stories content, Baldwin uses Sonny to represent a challenge to the narrator of the story. Through the rekindling of a brother’s relationships, Baldwin is able to depict Sonny's motivations and aspirations through his flaws, and the way in which his flaws affected his life. Sonny’s flaws ultimately shape Sonny’s character, his reserved feelings and silent demeanor isolate him from the world, but at the same time contribute to his aspirations and motivations by music.
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.
Sonny's Blues was written in 1957, 37 years after the roaring twenties had come to an end. Long after the great Migration, where millions of blacks moved to northern cities to escape Jim Crow, and embrace the new found possibilities offered. During this period African-Americans in New York, collectively gathered in Harlem mainly, it was usually alluded to as the black capital. There blacks shared culturally and also, influenced music greatly. This is also where the "new negro" persona was crafted, blacks were no longer going to be referred to as someone's mammies or boy.
As a matter of fact, the storyteller does not appreciate Sonny's motivations to play jazz music until the evening he socially joins Sonny to his stage show at a nightclub. Sitting in a dark corner at the nightclub, the storyteller listens to his brother play, considering the reminder of Sonny's friend, Creole, of what the Blues are about, "The tale, of the blues, how we live, and how we are delighted, how we suffer... and how we triumph... must be heard... it's the only light we've got in all this darkness." (Baldwin 139). For the narrator, he perceives that the Blues is the manifestation for Sonny's emotions, especially his suffering, because, as Creole would say, music is the only light in the
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
In fiction, the narrator controls how the audience connects to and perceives the various characters in a story. A good author can manipulate the narration to connect the audience to certain characters and deepen the reader’s understanding of their conflicts. In “Previous Condition” and “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin illustrates themes of loneliness and isolation in the pursuit of finding a space that feels like home. Although this theme is clear in both stories, Baldwin is able to portray it very differently in each story through the relationship he allows the reader to the characters struggling with these feelings. While “Previous Condition” provides a more intimate relationship to the narrator, “Sonny’s Blues” is able to deliver an additional level of understanding by telling the story through Sonny’s brother, therefore disconnecting the reader in a way that forces him or her to share the characters’ feelings of isolation and confusion.
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 modern-day life people often have their ups and downs of having power and losing it all. This is a key element in life, which is why many art forms choose to use it as their basis of writing. Literature often shows power and powerlessness through heroes and villains. However, author James Baldwin brings the battle of having and losing power through ordinary people’s life experiences. In the short story, Sonny’s Blues, written by James Baldwin examines the idea of how the desire to have power or control leads to having no power at all through the plot, characters, and setting.
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.
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.
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.
Many of the characters in “Sonny’s Blues” face battles within themselves. The characters fight the battle of trying to keep the light shining inside and to not let the darkness inhabit them. “Images of light and darkness are used by Baldwin to illustrate his theme of man’s painful quest for an identity” (Murray
Using his writing as a form of self-expression, James Baldwin, an African American author, spent his life seeking to reveal the cruel reality of African American men. “Sonny Blues” Baldwin’s short fiction, was published in 1957 and takes place during the Harlem Renaissance. The literary work tells the story of Sonny and his brother (an unnamed narrator), as they seek to understand how to navigate the delicate and dangerous waters of familial relationships, their role in society and themselves. However, it is not until the end of the story when Sonny’s brother narrates the powerful, melodic sound of Sonny’s blues that he acknowledges his own pain. It is during his epiphany, when he finally begins to understand Sonny’s pain and the pain of every generation who came before him and after him.
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.
Racism, a very horrible thing, still exists in the world we live in and those who are black will find it very hard to succeed in life due to the constant discrimination and the bad influence near them. A very good example for this is a short story called “Sonny’s Blue.” A short story about a 2 African Americans and how one leads a successful life while the other falls to bad influence and ends up in jail Black people had to face lot of problems before the segregation was ended. . Many people think the past remains in the past and doesn't matter today; the terrible acts of segregation, exploitation, and discrimination that were once upheld by the government are irrelevant now just because the present day isn't like that anymore. But the truth is that racism still exists