Analysis Of Sonny's Blues By James Baldwin

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In this essay James Baldwin’s world renowned story “Sonny’s Blues” will be analysed in detail, including Baldwin’s background, the artistic quality, thematic meanings, a plot summary, and the role this story plays in world literature. James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924, in New York’s Harlem. At the time the center of black culture, Harlem was once a culturally vibrant community of artists of all kinds, but it was also a neighborhood deeply afflicted by poverty and violence. Baldwin’s mother was eventually left by Baldwin’s biological father, and assumed a job as a domestic servant and married the preacher David Baldwin, whose strong influence on Baldwin was evident not only in Baldwin’s writing but in his religious faith as well. Baldwin’s religious faith had its follies. He had a difficult relationship with his stepfather, and while attending High School in the Bronx, he began to accept his homosexuality, which further complicated his role in the church. During his highschool years, Baldwin’s literary talent took off. He began spending time in Greenwich Village, which was widely considered the heart of the post–World War II artistic community. Created for the first time in 1957 and published in the volume Going to Meet the Man (1965), this short story uses the blues to heal the rift between two brothers. Sonny, a jazz musician and heroin user fresh from prison, returns to the home of his older brother, the narrator of the story, a math teacher who rejects sonny’s music and perspective on life. The narrator searches for recovery after the death of his daughter and his failure to protect his brother as he promised his mother he would. In his “condition” he is not unlike the narrator in “Zaabalawi” who claims to have “A dise... ... middle of paper ... ...actors, or from of drugs. Baldwin show’s that the struggle is universal, and by so doing hopes to open everyone’s eyes to the problem. He also brings great attention to the problem of drugs in America with characters such as Sonny, whose life came to ruins after struggling with heroin. This is exemplified when Sonny gives voice to how heroin makes one feel “It makes you feel in control. Sometimes you’ve got to have that feeling” (Baldwin 847). This passage shows how how the people of harlem and all around the world’s cities struggle to grasp freedom in their repressed lives. This very fact causes many to fall to drugs as a coping mechanism. In conclusion, Baldwin’s short story can be analysed by understanding Baldwin’s background, the thematic meanings of the story, the plot summary, the artistic quality, and the role “Sonny’s Blues” plays in world literature.
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