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An Analysis of Baldwin's, Sonny's Blues

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An Analysis of Baldwin's, Sonny's Blues


Sipiora identifies the critcal issues in Sonny's Blues with the character giving his self-reflections. Sipiora also says that literary characters sometimes perceive or not perceive the relationships or circumstances. We also have to judge characters in how they react to other characters whether they acted in good faith or not in good faith. We have to ask ourselves when we read literature if the character is being objective looking for personal qualities in a character when they come in contact with another character or is the character looking at another character in a judgemental, stereotypical, or preconceived way of thinking. Also is the character allowed the opportunity to share the similar things that are in common with another character or characters in the story. The main thing in reading literature in an Ethical Criticism is to take note on how a character interacts with another character or characters in a story. Also, take note on relationships of one character with another character.

In Sonny's Blues, the narrator is self-reflecting his experiences with various family members such as his mother and his younger brother, Sonny. Sonny and the narrator are brothers with a 7 year difference between them. The narrator was disappointed with Sonny at first due to his interest in becoming a musician. He thought it was a phase he was Sonny was going through and maybe it would pass. The older brother patronized Sonny with his insincere interest in music at first until it angered Sonny and he told his brother "don't do me no favors"(82).

The narrator had a judgemental, stereotype, predetermined way of thinking when it came to his past. The narrator's thoughts and feelings were cruel and hard for the drug addict childhood friend of Sonny's when he told him he did not want to hear his "sad story"(81). Yet, he realized they both have something in common. The narrator has Sonny's drug addiction and the friend has his own addiction to deal with. The narrator realized that everyone has a sad story.

When Sonny was trying to express how he felt on the inside and reveal his drug abuse, the narrator did not want to accept his younger brother's drug abuse and he 'kept putting them away. I told myself that Sonny was wild, but he wasn't crazy"(79). Just as Sonny felt alone and helpless, he could not talk about it to anyone. At the end, the narrator and Sonny were able to come to a mutual understanding of each other by the sound of Jazz usic. When the narrator went on Sonny's territory which was the Club, it was the way of his accepting Sonny on his terms. The acceptance came into full circle when he was listening to the music and watching Sonny play and express himeself on the piano. Where the older brother was disappointed in Sonny's choice of being a musician, he now embraces it. The narrator loves his brother and his love is unconditional. By listening to Sonny play the jazz music, the narrator was able to change his attitude about life, himself, and most of all, Sonny's choice.

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