The first moment music is introduced in the story is while the narrator is teaching at school. He has just learned of his brother arrest. He overhears a schoolboy whistling and it drowns out the “mocking and insular laughter of the other boys” (44). The narrator listens and is, for a moment, reminded of the fate that could meet his students; the same fate that met Sonny. He describes the whistling as “pouring out of him as though he were a bird” (44). It is innocent, pure, and drowns out the bitterness of his peers. It is reminiscent of a much younger Sonny. A Sonny that is still hopeful and still believes he can escape the demons that lurk in Harlem. The young schoolboy is creating this music to avoid and protect him from the dangers of his life, much like the way Sonny did in his younger years when he was playing for his life on Isabel’s piano.
Far more examples exist in the book of music becoming someone’s saving grace. For instance, the barmaid that the narrator a...
... middle of paper ...
...cape. He truly sees his brother for the first time. Sonny played music to escape and remove himself from the life that Harlem had to offer. It is a powerful ending to a story for brothers who have had such turbulent relationship.
In conclusion, music feeds the soul and simply makes things better. It gives Sonny, the barmaid, the street revivalists, and others in the story a chance to go back to a place where life was not so dreadful, even though trouble is waiting with the world outside. Music presents them with something to live for. Undoubtedly it is the most positive aspect of Sonny’s life. His drug arrest was simply the product of his environment and choices. Playing music was his way to try and leave that world behind. Throughout the entire story, music offers nothing but a positive influence on those that are around it be it hearing, listening, or watching.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Sonny, the title character of James Baldwin’s short story, “Sonny’s Blues,” is about a young man whom is struggling in life. As a young African American born in Harlem, the burden of being poor, black, and trapped within the confines of his community, he is aware of the limits and obstacles he faces. Baldwin uses the part where Sonny moved away from Harlem, his afterlife from prison, and his love for music to show us that he symbolizes the search for identity significance. After the death of his mother, his only older brother left to the army, and he was forced to live with his brother’s girlfriend, Isabel, their family.... [tags: harlem, james baldwin, sonny blues]
580 words (1.7 pages)
- There are many things we learn of Sonny and his nameless brother in Sonny's Blues. We learn their mannerisms, hobbies, occupations, and even their addictions. It seems we learn nearly everything about the pair; minus the narrators name, as previously stated. Hearing of their histories and the pains they've under gone, we see how they deal with their pain, which often truly tells character. Sonny's Blues isn't a story of two brothers living in a rough city; one of whom is a talented musician. The story is so much more, it's the point of tossing the main two stereotypes of African-Americans in an urban environment.... [tags: James Baldwin Sonny's Blues]
1007 words (2.9 pages)
- Symbolism in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues Missing Works Cited Several passages found throughout "Sonny's Blues" indicate that as a whole, the neighborhood of Harlem is in the turmoil of a battle between good and evil. The narrator describes Sonny's close encounters with the evil manifested in drugs and crime, as well as his assertive attempts at distancing himself from the darker side. The streets and communities of Harlem are described as being a harsh environment which claims the lives of many who have struggled against the constant enticement of emotional escape through drugs, and financial escape through crime.... [tags: James Baldwin Sonny's Blues]
1244 words (3.6 pages)
- Light and Darkness in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" the symbolic motif of light and darkness illustrates the painful nature of reality the two characters face as well as the power gained through it. The darkness represents the actuality of life on the streets of the community of Harlem, where there is little escape from the reality of drugs and crime. The persistent nature of the streets lures adolescents to use drugs as a means of escaping the darkness of their lives.... [tags: Sonny's Blues Essays]
1080 words (3.1 pages)
- The Power of Music in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues At first glance, "Sonny's Blues" seems ambiguous about the relationship between music and drugs. After all, the worlds of jazz and drug addiction are historically intertwined; it could be possible that Sonny's passion for jazz is merely an excuse for his lifestyle and addiction, as the narrator believes for a time. Or perhaps the world that Sonny has entered by becoming involved in jazz is the danger- if he had not encountered jazz he wouldn't have encountered drugs either.... [tags: Sonny's Blues Essays]
1545 words (4.4 pages)
- While reading “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin theme, symbolism, and motifs were discovered throughout the entire short story. Sonny one of the two main characters, is dealing with a drug addiction and is now following his dreams of becoming a jazz musician. The narrator, whose name was never given, does his best to keep the promise he made his mother years ago, to be his brother’s keeper. James Baldwin, an African American author, grew up in Harlem, New York. Baldwin had no one to share his love for literature with.... [tags: literary analysis]
1547 words (4.4 pages)
- "Sonny's Blues" If you were not able to talk to anyone, nor did people want to listen to what you have to say, would that affect you. In the short story, "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin, Baldwin writes about two brothers, Sonny and the narrator, who lose communication between one another because Sonny goes to prison. The narrator, having to make a promise to their mother before her death, was to take care and watch over his young brother Sonny no matter what. This turned out not to be the case and the narrator did not pay much attention to his brother's goals as well as doings.... [tags: American Literature]
765 words (2.2 pages)
- Louise Erdrich and James Baldwin wrote two similar short stories in which the stories revolve around brotherly connections. One author wrote about a brother’s struggle with post traumatic stress and the other wrote about a brother and his battle with drug addiction. The main characters, Lyman in “The Red Convertible” and the narrator in “Sonny’s Blues,” attempt to rescue their brothers from self destruction. In both stories the main characters brothers have been remitted into society after returning from their individual battles.... [tags: Drugs]
1076 words (3.1 pages)
- Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin A captivating tale of a relationship between two troubling brothers in Harlem, "Sonny's Blues" is told from the perception of Sonny's brother, whose name is never mentioned. Baldwin's choice of Sonny's brother as a narrator is what makes "Sonny's Blues" significant in terms of illustrating the relationship and emotional complications of Sonny and his brother. The significance of "Sonny's Blues" lies in the way Sonny's brother describes their relationship based on what he observes, hears, and feels, and how he struggles trying to understand Sonny through the course of the story.... [tags: Sonny's Blues James Baldwin]
1217 words (3.5 pages)
- Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin "Sonny's Blues" is a story about two brothers, their past, and how their differences came between them. They were apart for several years while Sonny was in jail, but once he got out they had a chance to mend their pasts. "Sonny's Blues" is a well written story that teaches a lesson that has value in every day life. The tone is melancholy and reminiscent. The brother is remembering the past and reflection on the mistakes he and Sonny made. He is sad over their fallout, Sonny's trouble with drugs, and the death of his daughter.... [tags: Sonny's Blues James Baldwin]
501 words (1.4 pages)