Professor Suzanne Weber
February 16, 2016
Sonny’s Blues: Point of View Matters.
Struggle, drugs, separation and reunion, that is what James Baldwin illustrates in Sonny’s blues. It is the story between two entirely different brothers as they struggle to discover who each one of them really is. “Sonny’s Blues” is narrated through the nameless older brother through first person with limited omniscience. Point of view is the narrator’s position in relation to the story which is depicted by the attitude toward the characters and 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 point of view in this story matters quite a lot because it would not have been the same story otherwise; this literary element is significant and truly makes the story.
In “Sonny’s Blues,” the reader gets to experience the situation at hand through the older brother’s eyes and experience the vicarious feelings that the he has to face as well. The first person point of view in this story is appropriate since everyone seems to confide in the brother and furthermore, the point of view is also selective omniscient, which gives the brother information on the present, past, and future permitting the reader to more easily understands the plot. Through the multiple accounts told to the brother, his first person point of view, and selective omniscient, James Baldwin demonstrates how point of view can give the reader a more define and clearer understanding of the story’s overall meaning.
The mother, father, and Sonny all share their accounts and stories of their lives through the older brother. This makes the older brother ...
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...of the brother made it feel real and heartfelt. Baldwin created a world we might not live in, but one that we can feel something towards, a world we can comprehend.
There are a lot of ifs with this story, such as what would’ve happened if the story were told using another point of view; however I believe it’s clear we would have had a completely different story if that was the case. Baldwin’s superior usage of point of view is a major cause of the success of “Sonny’s Blues.” By having the point of view as first person, and having the main omniscient character, the brother tells the story and reading it from his perspective grants the reader a more completeness of the story, which would otherwise be incomplete. “Sonny’s Blues” shows that point of view matters and that you’ll never understand someone else until you step into those other shoes and walk a mile in them.
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