Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin is a short story about two brothers that overcome many obstacles in their lives such as housing problems, death, discrimination, drug addiction, and imprisonment. Baldwin tends to use a lot of symbolism, allegories and imagery within the text as well. This story expresses the overall theme of suffering that Black Americans faced during the 1950s. The link between music, drugs, and environment play a large role when it comes to the characters suffering.
In James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”, Sonny and the Narrator display various stages in their sibling relationship. Sonny and the Narrator have gone through situations where they don’t communicate with each other, where they argue with each other, and where they are on good terms with each other. In real life, siblings argue and fight but eventually find common ground. Sonny and the Narrator’s relationship is a realistic sibling relationship.
The story, Sonny’s Blues, describes the lives of two brothers growing up in Harlem in the early 1960’s. Sonny and his brother are different in the way the go about life in general. They were both raised in the same household, yet they grew up to be totally different people.
Furthermore, Sonny's individualism is a direct result of his unhappiness with conventional life. As a young man, Sonny is unable to get along with his father. He hates his home and school. His creative interest leads him to become isolated from his brother, who feels threatened by "his jazz-oriented life style and his continued attraction to Greenwich Village" (Albert 179). By the beginning of the story, Sonny has rejected his family and his home, constructing a new life as a musician and drug peddler in a new location foreign to the narrator.
(Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.) 2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
Family is one of the primary concepts in James Baldwin's short story "Sonny's Blues", considering that the connection between the narrator and his brother, Sonny, echoes throughout the text. The writer intended the audience to feel the relationship between the two characters and he initially induced confusion in individuals by
The narrator always wanted the best for his younger brother Sonny. Sonny from the beginning of the story has a hard history of using drugs, ending up in jail, and not finishing school. Once both of their parents had passed, the
The story opens with a crisis in their relationship. The narrator reads in the newspaper that Sonny was taken into custody in a drug raid. He learns that Sonny is addicted to heroin and that he will be sent to a treatment facility to be “cured.” Unable to believe that his gentle and quiet brother could have so abused himself, the narrator cannot reopen communication with Sonny until a second crisis occurs, the death of his daughter from polio. When Sonny is released, the narrator brings him to live with his family.
Relational Theory There has been some recent argument against the current understanding of the place of relationships in psychotherapy. While most theories argue that relationships are important or even essential to good mental health, other theorists claim that the way relationships are conceptualized in these theories is insufficient (Slife & Wiggins, 2009). Most of these theories conceptualize the individuals first, and then talk about the way these individuals relate. Relationships are often understood as two or more independent self-contained individuals interacting (Slife & Wiggins, 2009). An alternative way to look at relationships is offered by relational psychoanalysts and other theorists, though again it should be noted that
And this was partly because Sonny was the apple of his father 's eye. It was because he loved Sonny so much and was frightened for him, that he was always fighting with him. It doesn 't do any good to fight with Sonny…But the principal reason that they never hit it off is that they were so much alike.” (225). Sonny 's father was an alcoholic who did not know how to properly convey his love for him, this causes Sonny to compensate for his tumultuous upbringing by constantly burying the emotions he feels inside. These descriptions are a stark contrast to the way that Narrator is introduced as a successful man in the community of Harlem; he’s an algebra teacher with a wife and kids who distances himself from, not only those inferior to him, but towards his own brother too. He’s a practical man with a darker, far more cynical view of the world that surrounds him. By social standards, Narrator is an upstanding citizen who is the bright spot in his community for making something of himself with a stable career and life. Sonny has seemingly failed at reaching that level by only becoming another predictably, failed product of a community that expects this type of outcome. He is a jazz musician with an addiction problem who has a naïve, sunny point of view about the world. When two brothers who ultimately don’t share the same views, profession, or beliefs the difficulty to find a connection is only inevitable.
As well as in the short story Sonny’s Blues, the main character, Sonny, is being criticized by his brother. Since the very beginning, their mother told the oldest one, ‘’ you got to hold on to your brother ’’ and that’s what he wanted to do, but Sonny took a different path than he did. Sonny was the kind of guy that was heroin-addicted and a jazz musician, but his older brother didn’t see all these sides of him. We discover all these sides by the use of flashback of the author throughout the major parts of the story. The author didn’t want us to see Sonny like his older brother was seeing him, he wanted us to see him as a poor, un-accepted guy that needed to be listened by his peers. The brother didn’t accept the journey that Sonny had taken, but if he would of saw the actual Sonny, and stop hiding in the darkness, he would of accepted him faster and understand that Sonny only wanted to show that he could do good things not only drugs. In the middle of the story, there is a flashback were we learn that actually Sonny is more experienced about life than his older brother, because Sonny was in drugs and was really affected by Harlem( the city they stayed in when they were younger). The brother had a pretty easy life; he became a teacher and had a little family. This demonstrates that we need support from our peers, to be able to continue without taking bad choices.
In James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues,” the unspoken brotherly bond between the narrator and his younger brother Sonny is illustrated through the narrator’s point of view. The two brothers have not spoken in years until the narrator receives a letter from Sonny after his daughter dies. He takes this moment as
Before passing away, the narrator's mother made him promise to always take care of Sonny: "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. You going to be evil with him many a time. But don't you forget what I told you, you hear?" (14). The narrator's initial lack of contact might seem that he has forgotten his promise and his responsibility as an older brother. Realistically though, the narrator is angry at Sonny's decisions to take heroin and consequently get arrested. This anger that he holds is preventing him from fulfilling his promise and his responsibility; however, when he receives the letter from Sonny stating, "You don't know how much I needed you", the anger dissipates and he realizes that his younger brother is in need of guidance and love rather than anger and ignorance.
His mother shared a story with him about his father and his uncle. She wanted him to promise to take care of his brother. She may have had an idea that Sonny was in trouble. After their mother died Sonny told his brother that he didn’t want to stay in Harlem anymore. His brother wanted him to finish school and stay another year. He saw the worry and concern in Sonny’s eyes, but dismissed it. This was Sonny’s way of telling his brother that he needed help before it was too late. Sonny pulled away from him and stated, “I hear you. But you never hear anything I say.”
Alice Klieg: Alice Klieg is a 43 year-old female who recently won $86 million in the California Sweepstakes lottery. She is unemployed, divorced from her husband, and now lives on her own. Diagnosis: After my assessment of Alice Klieg, I am diagnosing her with Borderline Personality Disorder. Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder and