James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” describes several settings that are very important for the story and its characters, the narrator and his brother Sonny. One particular setting is the nightclub which is some kind of outlet for Sonny. Compared to Harlem, this place has a more positive impact on the narrator and Sonny, which is described in detail in the last part of the story. After suffering from drug addiction and getting rehabilitation, Sonny is lost in the city, and he is afraid that these ailments will overtake him again. Therefore, the nightclub represents for him the place where he can forget his suffering, fears, and enjoy what he really likes, which is music. Here, Sonny is a star; he is the king of this nightclub. Even his brother,
In the short story “Sonny’s Blues” by James H. Pickering, a brother is trying to understand what has led his younger brother, Sonny, to drug addiction and how to help his relationship with Sonny. The instructive purpose of this analysis is to examine how James Baldwin uses the narrators characteristics to construct the central conflict of the story. The two opposing forces that create the central conflict are presented as a person versus self, by a clash of two feelings. On one hand the parental characteristic of the narrator wants to help his brother. The other a closed - minded characteristic of the narrator wants to push his brother away. The central idea of the story is trying to overcome an internal conflict to be able to save relationships with those we love most but tend to push away. A change in thinking and acceptance moves those struggling back together where they want to be.
The narrator of this story had thought that his brother Sonny was safe. Or at least, that was what he had made himself believe. "I told myself that Sonny was wild, but he wasn't crazy. And he'd always been a good boy, he hadn't ever turned hard or evil or disrespectful, the way kids can, so quick, so quick, especially in Harlem. I didn't want to believe that I'd ever see my brother going down, coming to nothing, all that light in his face gone out, in the condition
The narrator experienced a lot of problems throughout his life but managed to emerge victoriously from most of them. Even with this, he needs to support Sonny because this was his mother's dying wish. "The death of the narrator's daughter, Sonny's failure to fit in with his own family, a stint in the navy all serve to alienate the brothers, even after their mother made the narrator promise to keep an eye on young Sonny" (Smith 22). The fact that they were born in a harsh environment, society's views in regard to their racial background, and the fact that they experienced a lot of hardships during their lives all had a severe effect on the personalities of each of the brothers.
Thus, the narrator’s father dealt with the same struggle that the narrator and Sonny are facing now. The narrator wants to protect his brother from the darkness of the world that has always threatened to invade their lives but he fails to do so as he is torn by his emotions, which shift quickly from love to hate and he is also unable to express his emotions, feelings and concern towards Sonny.
In the short story, Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin, there are two brother that live in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance. The older brother, whose name is never mentioned, was given responsibility of Sonny by their mother before she passed away. Sonny is the younger of the two and wants to be a jazz pianist, but his older brother does not understand this, while he is an algebra school teacher. Sonny and his brother stop communicating. Later, the older brother is going to his job when he sees in the newspaper that his younger brother, Sonny, had been arrested for selling and possessing cocaine, or as it is called in the story, horse. Sonny’s brother never writes Sonny in jail until his daughter, Grace, died of polio. After Sonny gets out of jail, they begin to get close and his brother starts to appreciate Sonny’s love for jazz.
In any medium the last words of an author, lyricist or screenwriter are the most powerful of the entire piece. An ending can completely ruin a perfectly good piece if it isn't what it should be. It can also redeem a mostly mediocre piece by being exactly what it should be. Often the best endings are ones that do not end the way the reader wants them to, but end the way the reader knows they should. Baldwin is definitely an author who knows how to end a story.
The story begins by telling the readers how Sonny’s brother learned of him being in jail from a newspaper article (29), one might automatically infer that their relationship isn’t so good. It makes you wonder how much influence Sonny’s brother had when it came to how his life ended up. At one point in the beginning of the story his brother even asks himself if he had anything to do with it (33), as if to help the readers with the already occurring thought that maybe he could have helped his brother, maybe he could have been there and done more. Later on, he talks about the promise he made to his mother to take care of his brother, to lift him up and not let him fall (42). He had a responsibility to his little brother and he ultimately let him down, he let him fall and wasn’t around to help him back up when he needed it the most.
While reading “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin theme, symbolism, and motifs were discovered throughout the entire short story. Sonny one of the two main characters, is dealing with a drug addiction and is now following his dreams of becoming a jazz musician. The narrator, whose name was never given, does his best to keep the promise he made his mother years ago, to be his brother’s keeper.
The narrator finds himself confronted with different forms of suffering that encompass both light and dark mechanisms of survival. Upon seeing Sonny for the first time in many years, “He looked very unlike my baby brother. Yet, when he smiled… the baby brother I’d never known looked out from the depths of his private life, like
Fictional writing is generally done just to entertain readers. Some authors create stories with a singular point of view, while others introduce more complex plots and storylines. When it comes to author James Baldwin’s short story Sonny’s Blues, there is much depth given to the storyline and the characters. Sonny’s Blues has been analyzed by many different people throughout time because the story has many elements. From Baldwin’s skillful use of metaphors and similes to his incorporation of religious references, this story is insightfully and complexly written. A simple story about a man and his brother leaves readers with an inside look into family, drug addiction, socioeconomic struggles in the Black community, and the language of Jazz
In James Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues,” one of the most pertinent themes throughout the story is the contrast and duality of light and darkness. More specifically, the author explores this theme by using light and darkness to explain the characters coming to terms with their realities and the realities of many people who live in their community. The theme also is key in explaining the relationship between Sonny and the narrator. In this paper, I intend to explain the significance of the tension of identifying one’s reality in “Sonny’s Blues,” by exploring the many instances that Baldwin uses light and darkness to explore one’s reality.
In the story “Sonny’s Blues”, written by James Baldwin, the narrator and his younger brother, Sonny, interact with musical elements that serve as a redemption for Sonny. Baldwin believes in the power of music to rescue or minimize the suffering that people go through. Both characters isolate themselves with several instances of music and issue their reactions toward it. Sonny is an uprising musician that wants to portray his life by playing the piano. This story is about Sonny’s Blues. His sadness about his escape from his childhood, his frustration with being a musician, as well as the lack of support from his brother, when he knew that Sonny was hurting the most, are expressed through the wooden black and white keys. At first, Sonny uses
“Sonny’s Blues,” which is an outstanding short story by James Baldwin, describes many obstacles in lifestyles and relationships of African-Americans in the influential time of post Harlem Renaissance and discrimination in the 1950s. In the end of the story, the nightclub setting is the most important and emotional turning point of the brotherhood between narrator and his young brother, Sonny. After many conflicts and arguments about their different ideals and lifestyles, Sonny tries to open his heart to let his brother understand him by inviting the narrator to come to his jazz music performance at a small nightclub in Greenwich Village. At this place, he meets friends of Sonny, acquaint himself with jazz music and tries to get into Sonny’s world. He carefully observes any changes of his brother on the stage. Sonny is nervous and has trouble in the beginning of the performance. However, Sonny quickly gets back on track. His music seems to touch everyone, including his brother, by its beauty and freedom. The narrator becomes proud of Sonny. Eventually, he recognizes his brother’s talent and understands that Sonny was born to be a real musician.
Many times in life we find ourselves in situations that end in suffering. This can become a very dark place, unless we can find something to pull us out. In the story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin music was the remedy. The main factors that make up this story is suffering, the overall theme of darkness, and the meaning of the music.