Comparing the Blues in Hughes' The Blues I'm Playing and Baldwin's Sonny's Blues

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The Blues: in Hughes' The Blues I'm Playing and Baldwin's Sonny's Blues  

In Langston Hughes' The Blues I'm Playing, the blues are the source of Oceola's life and her choices. Langston is trying to illustrate the conflict between life and art. The art in this story is represented in a confined manner, as a disciplined career with a white woman acting as the overseer in the young lady's life. Art to Oceola, with its profit, convenience and privileges offers an array of benefits, but being embodied in Dora Ellsworth, the art seems to drift away from life's vitality. Life in Oceola sings itself in jazz and blues in Harlem, ignores the artistic East 63rd Street and the rules by which are claims its superiority. There is a
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Oceola's final words, sketched according to mood, race, and sex, explain what blues are. She says, "Listen!... How sad and gay it is. Blue and happy-laughing and crying...How white like you and black like me... Warm as Pete's mouth... These are the blues... I'm playing."

In James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues he deals with a man trying to find his identity in a very hostile society. The blues in this story is used in a more emotional manner which recollects the past. It also repairs the relationship between the two brothers who have chosen two different ways of coping in their ghetto environment. The blues also serves as a communication devise between the two brothers. Baldwin uses the blues to state a fact; the ugliness and meanness inherent in the human condition. In order to really understand the message of the blues you have to be one that has suffered just like Sonny and the elder brother. The blues that they play also communicates to other sufferers who have had their own trials, so they know what this music is all about. Sonny's suffering are within himself, but deep suffering is common to all his listeners. Even his brother can attune himself to this suffering, which is brought on by the death of his little daughter Grace. When the brother is at the club listening to the blues he recalls his mother, the moonlit road on
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