Analysis Of James Baldwin 's ' Sonny 's Blues '

1578 WordsFeb 22, 20177 Pages
James Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues” was a great tale of the struggles shared between two brothers in Harlem in 1957. This story is about two African American brothers who, unfortunately, grew apart as the aged. The plot shows the struggles the two brothers faced as they grew up in Harlem, and in return, the two drastically different paths they perused. James Baldwin was an African American who grew up in Harlem in the 1930s and 40s. Baldwin was the oldest of nine children, and grew up in a very poor family, having a very bad relationship with his stepfather. Baldwin followed in his stepfather’s footsteps in becoming a preacher, but as he was studying to do so, he realized that his true calling was to become a writer. Baldwin…show more content…
The narrator says that he “couldn’t believe it: but what I mean by that is I couldn’t find any room for it anywhere inside me. I had kept it outside me for a long time. I hadn’t wanted to know” (Baldwin600). The narrator and Sonny haven’t spoken much since the death of their mother. The narrator wanted Sonny to stay in school and finish, and Sonny wanted to drop out and join the army or the navy, and then chase his dream of being a jazz piano player. Sonny agreed to stay in school at first, but after a while, he stopped going and eventually ran away and joined the army. After not hearing from Sonny in years, the narrator heard from him out of nowhere when he was deployed in Greece. Both Sonny and the narrator were living in New York years after the war was over. They would meet sometimes, but it would always result in a fight, and eventually the narrator and Sonny stopped speaking. Before their mother died, she told the narrator to look after his brother. She said “it ain’t only the bad ones, nor yet the dumb ones that gets sucked under” (Baldwin607). So when Sonny got arrested for heroin, the narrator felt some guilt and that it was sort of his fault, but at the same time, he felt that he wanted nothing to do with him and his troubles. The narators confusion on the matter was put to a rest when he ran into one of Sonny’s friends right after the arrest, and his friend made it clear that as soon as Sonny got out he would go
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