Sonny struggles in the beginning with his racism, he quits school, joins the service, gets mixed up with drugs, spends time in prison, and then finally he finds his outlet with music. He feels blues represent common black American ways in their suffering and the problems they have in the white society. Unlike Sonny though, James takes a quieter way to live in a racist world and that was his teaching. Music is what finally brings the brothers closer together, and helps them cope with racism during that period. Both brothers feel no matter what struggles we endure though life, always be true to yourself and follow your dreams.
They were not about anything very new. He and his boys up there were keeping it new, at the risk of ruin, destruction, madness, and death, in order to find new ways to make us listen.” (pg 148) Through the Blues, Sonny has the means to fill the air with life; his life” (pg 145) and the narrator starts to really hear the music. Sonny’s dangerous, drunken blends of music and raw notes from the heart cause the narrator to remember the great misfortune of his parents and the death of his beloved daughter. The narrator realizes why Sonny chose the life he did: unsafe and sorrowful, but infinitely more satisfying in the end.
The life of the amazing blind musician Ray Charles comes to my mind as I struggle to understand how the African American culture learned to survive during this time. Sonny and Ray Charles had many of the same life experiences, in particular relying on drugs to forget their past and living in a society where the black man struggled to make a living. Both men used their music of rhythm and blues to gain respect from family and friends. In particular they learned to use music to survive in times of racism, segregation and poverty.
Throughout “Sonny’s Blues” the music played by Sonny becomes his escape from the drugs, the day, and even his life. Sonny struggles with drugs, a fear of rejection, and the fact that he is a man. Having people there during a time of solitude is nice but one day, growing up is a part of being an adult. Whether life draws people towards becoming a jazz musician or an algebra teacher, everyone is dealing with the same hell, just different
Although since he knew what he loved in life and pursued that one goal, he was able to over come the hatred of his peers. This story of his life can be seen through a short story written by Baldwin himself, which is “Sonny’s Blues.” Sonny, the main character of the story, exemplifies many of the qualities and traits that Baldwin had in his younger years. Sonny and Baldwin lacked a true father figure, had a difficult time fitting in as black men, and also had an addiction that made life that much harder. Baldwin himself wasn’t actually addicted to drugs like Sonny but he was a homosexual, and the hardships that came with this equal what Sonny had to go through with his family and friends.
Sonny and his brother both struggle for acceptance. Sonny wants desperately to explain himself while also trying to stay afloat and out of drugs. Baldwin amplifies these struggles with a continuous symbolic motif of light and darkness. Throughout "Sonny's Blues" there is a pervasive sense of darkness which represents the reality of life on the streets of Harlem. The darkness is sometimes good but usually sobering and sometimes fearful, just as reality may be scary.
Life comes with many struggles and gives strength to those who face them. James Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues” is about the struggles and hardships that every day people face. This story is about an aspiring musician, Sonny, Baldwin’s main character, whose life is portrayed through the eyes of his older brother. Because of Sonny’s lifestyle, his brother has lost touch with him for many years, but after a terrible tragedy the narrator reaches out to Sonny and tries to mend their relationship. Sonny is a recovering drug addict and as the story goes on, it seems as if Sonny has changed, but in reality he did not change, his brother just comes to realization that he cannot change him, but only accept and respect the man that he is and the man that he’s striving to be.
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.
You’re just hung up on the way some people try—it’s not your way!”(355) The narrator had dealt with his own miseries of knowing his father’s plight, his Brother Sonny’s imprisonment and the loss of his own child. Sonny tried to give an understanding of what music was for him throughout thei... ... middle of paper ... ... the miserable life that African Americans had to withstand at the time. From the narrator’s life in Harlem that he loathed, to the drug problems and apprehensions that Sonny was suffering from, to the death of his own daughter Grace, each of these instances serve to show the wretchedness that the narrator and his family had to undergo. The story in relation to Baldwin possibly leads to the conclusion that he was trying to relate this to his own life. At the time before he moved away, he had tried to make a success of his writing career but to no avail.
One of Baldwin’s literature pieces was Sonny’s Blues in which he describes a specific event that had a great impact on his relationship with his brother, Sonny. Having to deal with the life-style of poverty, his relationship with his brother becomes affected and rivalry develops. Conclusively, brotherly love is the theme of the story. Despite the narrator’s and his brother’s differences, this theme is revealed throughout the characters’ thoughts, feelings, actions, and dialogue. Therefore, the change in the narrator throughout the text is significant in understanding the theme of the story.