Essay on Point of View in Sonny's Blues

974 WordsJun 13, 20084 Pages
The Effects of Point of View in “Sonny’s Blues” James Baldwin’s, “Sonny’s Blues,” illustrates the story between two different brothers as they struggle to discover the character of one another. “Sonny’s Blues” is narrated through the older brother’s point of view, as he portrays their difficulties in growing up, separation, and reunion. Baldwin purposely picks to tell the story in the first person point of view because of the omniscient and realistic effects it contribute to the story overall. The mother, father, and Sonny all express their accounts to the older brother, making him the perfect character to tell the story. In addition, the first person point of view allows the reader to experience the vicarious feelings that the…show more content…
The brother is the person who has the most information about the family. His knowledge of his uncle’s account and conversation with his mother contribute to the overall completeness of the story that would have been missing otherwise. Asides from giving complete information to the brother, Baldwin chooses to write the story in the first person point of view because he wants the reader to feel exactly as how the brother is feeling. By having it told from the first person, the reader could build a stronger connection with the character in the story. Baldwin distinguishes to the reader the difference between of being told a story and of experiencing the story first hand. The reader sees the events through the brother’s eyes, which makes the story more realistic and believable. For example, when the brother first discovers about his uncle’s death, he is stupefied and shock at the unbelievable news. Baldwin demonstrates this by stating,” I guess I didn’t want to believe this.” He ends with, “Still, I couldn’t move.” (51) If the quotes were replaced by “he” instead of “I”, the story would lose its credibility. The reader will be less reluctant to believe the true emotion that the brother is experiencing. The first person point of view connects character to the reader, allowing for a more complete understanding of what is happening. In addition to the first person point of view, Baldwin also writes the story with the
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