James Baldwin: S Portrayal Of Music In Sonny's Blues

Good Essays
Baldwin’s Portrayal of Music in “Sonny’s Blues”
Music is an application of human creativity through instrumental and/or vocal sounds, which express emotions of the writer and are appreciated by others for its beautiful sound. A powerful emotional tool that may enlighten and entice some, as well as mystify and repulse others. Either way it is an art form that invokes a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts for listeners to comb through. In the short story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin music plays a vital role in the life of his characters. The story portrays two brothers that grew up in harlem struggling with their environment as well as their emotional detachment from one another. Sonny one of the brothers in the story suffers from a heroin addiction that distances him from his family. The narrator Sonny’s brother, willingly creates a distance between him and his brother
…show more content…
Sonny’s inability to communicate properly contributes to the misunderstandings he has in life, especially with his brother the narrator. Though Sonny’s music speaks to more than just his and his brother’s relationship, it tells the story of Sonny. The story is titled “Sonny’s Blues” though evidence in the story suggest that Sonny plays a genre of Jazz known a bebop. Blues is described in the story as a “tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard.”(Baldwin) In the story blues are not a genre in music but rather the a symbol of Sonny’s suffering that ends in triumph. Sonny has strayed away from musical path for too long. Baldwin writes “Sonny hadn’t been near a piano for over a year. And he wasn’t on much better terms with his life” to show the low points that Sonny has been on. Then Baldwin shows that Sonny has returned to be redeemed through his music. As he plays at the end of the story Sonny hold nothing back expressing himself to the
Get Access