Brotherly Love in Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin

1196 WordsJul 9, 20185 Pages
James Baldwin, author of Sonny’s Blues, was born in Harlem, NY in 1924. During his career as an essayist, he published many novels and short stories. Growing up as an African American, and being “the grandson of a slave” (82) was difficult. On a day to day basis, it was a constant battle with racial discrimination, drugs, and family relationships. One of Baldwin’s literature pieces was Sonny’s Blues in which he describes a specific event that had a great impact on his relationship with his brother, Sonny. Having to deal with the life-style of poverty, his relationship with his brother becomes affected and rivalry develops. Conclusively, brotherly love is the theme of the story. Despite the narrator’s and his brother’s differences, this…show more content…
It was painful for him to see his daughter suffer, and now she was no longer alive. He reminisces through the following quote, “where Isabel is weeping against me seems a mortal wound” (98). This signifies that this sadness was unbearable to the narrator. It felt as though: how much more sadness could one bear in this lifetime? In fact, he feared his brother would pass away just like his little girl, yet for other unnatural causes. Hence, if Sonny did die, he would feel guilty about his death for a lifetime. Second, he recalled a conversation he had with his momma about keeping his brother safe, “You got to hold on to your brother, she said, and don’t let him fall no matter what it looks like is happening to him and no matter how evil you gets with him” (92). The occurrence of these two important events motivated the narrator to change his views about his brother. Thirdly, finding out about Sonny’s misfortune through the papers, opened his eyes to his brother’s misery, “I read it, and I couldn’t believe it, and I read it again” (83). Moments later, the narrator’s change is evident. He wasn’t disappointed anymore and did not want to intend to avoid his brother either. On the contrary, he realized he needed to preserve his word to his mother and support his brother, “I think I may have written to Sonny the very day that little Grace was buried. I was sitting in the living room in the dark, by myself, and I suddenly thought of
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