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.
The narrator has assimilated into society as much as possible, but still understands his limits as a black man. Contrarily, Sonny has never tried to conform and travels a troubled path trying find an outlet for the deep pain and suffering that his status as a permanent outcast forces upon him. Sonny channels his suffering into music and he and his brother are finally able to connect through something in which they never thought existed: the light that Sonny's dark world birthed. Works Cited Baldwin, James. “Sonny’s Blues.” The Jazz Fiction Anthology.
The struggles that Sonny has to deal with are internal as well. He is trying to figure out how to get back to the person he was before the drugs crept into his system and left him feeling on a high. For Sonny, he channels his struggles — dealing with heroin — into the Blues. With music, he cannot mask how he feels, like drugs can do for him. Music speaks to anyone willing to listen.
Jazz music prospered in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Jazz was created by African Americans to represent pain and suffering and also represented the adversity that racial tension brought. (Scholastic) African American performers like Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie “Bird” Parker came to be recognized for their ability to overcome “race relati... ... middle of paper ... ...ne’s suffering are portrayed throughout the story. It eventually leads to a deeper understanding between Sonny and his brother. This has changed and improved their relationship.
This proof is found in the final pages of Baldwin’s excellent literature of “Sonny’s Blues”. At the start of Sonny’s performance, he was a little nervous because of his older brother’s presence along with n... ... middle of paper ... ...t and make better decisions to conclude the rest of their lives. In this enjoyable story, it showed how a person can self-renew themselves. Sonny self-renewed himself by playing blues music, instead of using heroin. It was a hard long journey, but he portrayed that it can be done.
In the lyrical and heartrending short story Sonny’s Blues, James Baldwin tells the tale of two brothers, both having taken a different path to survive, and how these paths have estranged them. One brother, the narrator and a button-down algebra teacher, lives a straight-forward life with a wife and two kids. The other brother, Sonny, is a heroin hooked, jazz crazed, musician who views life in a much different light. During the course of their difficult relationship the narrator, through remembrance of previous death experiences in his life, acceptance of Sonny’s choices , and hearing Sonny express his sorrows and suffering through his music is able to open his heart to the previously unaccepted Sonny and rekindle their fraternal bond. After years of non communication between brothers, a single event happens that puts them back in touch.
Brothers tend to grow apart yet eventually find a way to revive an old beat up relationship. These brothers grew up on the rough streets of Harlem and went their separate ways. Sonny was a drug-addicted musician and his older brother was a high school algebra teacher with a family. The way the two brothers reunite through addiction, memories and strife make their bond seem stronger than ever. Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin, is a story about enlightenment through brotherhood when Sonny and his brother go to the club.
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.
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.
The younger man is Sonny, a jazz pianist who, when the story opens, has just been arrested for peddling and using heroin. In Sonny's Blues, chronological time is upset yet the author, Baldwin, allows everything to come together in the end. In "Sonny's Blues" the tragedy and suffering can be transformed into an art such as blues music. This can be viewed as a catalyst for change, as the narrator begins to understand not only the music, but also himself and his relationship with Sonny. The narrator learns his brother Sonny has been arrested from reading the newspaper and this disturbing discovery initiates the two brothers growing closeness.