Essay on Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin

1316 Words6 Pages
“Sonny’s Blues” revolves around the narrator as he learns who his drug-hooked, piano-playing baby brother, Sonny, really is. The author, James Baldwin, paints views on racism, misery and art and suffering in this story. His written canvas portrays a dark and continual scene pertaining to each topic. As the story unfolds, similarities in each generation can be observed. The two African American brothers share a life similar to that of their father and his brother. The father’s brother had a thirst for music, and they both travelled the treacherous road of night clubs, drinking and partying before his brother was hit and killed by a car full of white boys. Plagued, the father carried this pain of the loss of his brother and bitterness…show more content…
Words expressed only through the agonizing notes of distress and sadness. Only then was the “art and suffering,” comingled in only a way that life’s experiences could bring.
“Sonny’s fingers filled the air with life, his life. But that life contained so many others…..He made it his: that long line, of which we knew only Mama and Daddy. And he was giving it back, so that, passing through death, it can now live forever. I saw my Mother’s face again, and felt, for the first time, how the stones of the road she had walked on must have bruised her feet. I saw the moonlit road where my father’s brother died. And it brought something else back to me, and carried me past it. I saw my little girl again and felt Isabel’s (his wife) tears again, and felt my own tears begin to rise. And I was yet aware that this was only a moment, that the world waited outside, as hungry as a tiger, and that trouble stretched above us, longer than the sky.”(359)
The narrator was writhing in the misery of the burden of brotherly love. The narrator’s mother, via tasking him with looking after Sonny, asked him to serve as his sibling’s keeper and protector. The narrator was riddled with grief throughout his life right from the burden of brotherly love that was placed upon his shoulder, to the dilapidated living conditions he and Sonny had to endure while shaking up in the projects, to the imprisonment of his younger brother and the death of his own daughter-
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