Salvation In Sonny's Blues

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In Sonny’s Blues a big issue is the idea of Salvation. Sonny’s blues is a story about two brothers on opposite paths, with different worldviews. The characters in the story are from the same place, raised by the same people, and taught the same things, but they are different in the brain and heart, which makes their journey to salvation very different trips. Sonny is the younger of the brothers and he struggles with drugs, the ideas of suffering, and feeling trapped. The narrator on the other hand struggles with the death of his daughter, his relationship with his brother, and feeling trapped. James Baldwin wrote this short story during the 1950’s and it is still very relevant today, people are still looking for salvation and still trying to…show more content…
Sonny looks for salvation from a variety of things in multitude of different places. Harlem is where Sonny started looking for salvation from, and he found it in doing Heroin and playing the blues. Sonny left Harlem before he even graduated high school, but he never truly left Harlem. Harlem latched on to Sonny in the form of a Heroin addiction. The narrator often blamed Sonny’s musical friends or his career choice as the reason for Sonny’s drug problem. In truth though it was a way for Sonny to deal with the suffering he saw in the world and he felt himself. Sonny felt good when he was playing music or shooting up so he thought those were salvation. When Sonny played his blues it gave him an outlet for the sadness that his soul held, and when he did heroin he was able to forget about it. For Sonny the two had very little to do with each other that can be seen in the scene when the brothers talk about his addiction and his career path, Sonny says, “ ‘It’s not so much to play. It’s to stand it, to be able to make it at all. On any level.’ He frowned and smiled: ‘In order to keep from shaking to pieces.” Sonny latter goes on to talk about how he felt the need to hide from the suffering people must go through because its just not right that people should suffer so much. To Sonny music and heroin were two different escapes but to the narrator they were one in the same,…show more content…
As the set starts Sonny isn’t quite in his element, struggling to make the piano belt out his feelings. As Sonny dives in to the music the narrator starts to understand his brother. The nightclub acts as a temporary salvation for each of the brothers. The men experience different salvations in the club. For Sonny the salvation was playing the piano again and doing it without the use of drugs. The narrator calls Sonny’s drink that he sips right before he play again the Cup of Trembling, this is a symbol of the promise of salvation in exchange for great suffering. For the narrator the salvation came from his ability to understand his brother and understand what people must have had to experience to be where they are. The narrator starts to think of the people he has lost and how they must have suffered. He understands that this is Sonny’s salvation is the way the music lets him get out his
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