Sonny 's Blues By James Baldwin

1252 Words6 Pages
The story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin centers on the conflicting relationship between two brothers that is explored throughout various stages of their lives. Through the structured, melodic style used by Baldwin there are reoccurring themes of suffering, family, and home that are used to further convey the idea of two brothers who love each other, but don’t understand each other. Ultimately, the relationship between the two brothers is greatly strained due them being polar opposites, their lack of effective communication, and failure to truly hear one another rather than seeing. The characters do not have much in common beyond the blood that they share, thus making it difficult for a bond to form until the walls of judgement are torn…show more content…
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. In addition to their dueling personalities, the
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