Theme Of Music In Sonny's Blues By James Baldwin

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In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blue's", music is characterized not only as a source of artistic expression but it also promotes communication between members within the community of Harlem, New York. After being released from prison, the narrator's brother Sonny redeems himself from his past sufferings and current frustrations through music which the narrator cannot fully understand or accept. By the end of the story, Sonny is able to convince his brother of the value that music has in transforming his frustrations into positive changes and developing new relationships. Baldwin underscores the impact that music has on many characters in the story by showing how music is used to overcome barriers, to express feelings and past experiences, and to make connections with their audiences by exposing their vulnerabilities.…show more content…
As the narrator pays closer attention to the abundance of music in his environment, he becomes more accepting and perceptive of it. His analyses of music in his society starts of simple and gradually increases in complexity as the story progresses. His first discovery involves "one boy [who] was whistling a tune, at once very complicated and very simple, it seemed to be pouring out of him as though he were a bird...only just holding its own through all those other sounds" (Baldwin 123). Here, the narrator learns that music can be used as a simple form of expression of one's feelings, yet even in its simple forms, can still be complicated. This level of complexity is also evident in his relationship with his brother Sonny as he struggles to understand how music is benefiting Sonny and Sonny himself is on his own journey to finding his purpose in life through
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