James Baldwin's Story Sonny's Blues Essay

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James Baldwin's Story Sonny's Blues

James Baldwin?s story ?Sonny?s Blues? is a deep and reflexive composition. Baldwin uses the life of two brothers to establish parallelism of personal struggle with society, and at the same time implies a psychological process of one brother leaving his socially ingrained prejudices to understand and accept the other's flaws.

The story is narrated by Sonny?s older brother whom remained unnamed the entire story. Sonny's brother is a pragmatic person, a teacher, husband, and father. He is a typical middle class Joe whose life?s purpose is to conform to society?s rules. He is a conservative person who seldom takes risks, and accepts the majority?s judgment over his. Sonny?s brother has assimilated
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227).? He never articulates his real fears, but implies them ?loose and dreamlike.? As if the act of mention suspicion of drug use was a calamity in itself.

For a while, they stay away from each other, until the news of Sonny?s arrest for drug possession hits Sonny?s brother. Older brother as a child and now as an adult has tried to ignore or deny those feelings of dread and despair because he is afraid of them. He takes bad news somatically ?A great block of ice got settled in my belly and kept melting there slowly all day long, while I taught my classes algebra. It was a special kind of ice. It kept melting, sending trickles of ice water all up and down my veins, but it never got less. Sometimes it hardened and seemed to expand until I felt my guts were going to come spilling out or that I was going to choke or scream (p. 215).? Here Sonny?s brother?s denial mechanism shatters, reality is too big to hide behind apathy. Yet, he does not act upon it. It takes another shock of reality (his daughter death) for him to be in pain, a pain from which he couldn?t hide or deny. It was then when he started to understand Sonny?s sorrow, and writes him a letter, finally.

When Sonny gets out jail, he goes to live with older brother. Sonny?s brother begins to end his silence toward Sonny, and to tries to understand Sonny's pain. Yet he is still suspicious of Sonny?s habit ?The idea of searching Sonny?s room made me still. I scarcely dared to admit to myself what I?d
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