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.
Though racial and sexual issues seem to continuously serve a main purpose in James Baldwin’s writings, oppression can be described as a useful theme in both “Sonny’s Blues and Going to Meet the Man”( Murphy 6). In “Sonny’s Blues” we meet the narrator, Sonny’s brother who runs into one of Sonny’s old friends who begins conversing with Sonny’s brother about Sonny’s recent arrest. Sonny’s old friend tells the narrator that he “can’t much help Sonny no more” which upsets him because it makes him realize how much he had given up on trying to help his brother. Sonny was suffering from drug abuse, and was in desperate need of a savior. After the
This piece holds the reader’s attention throughout the entire poem because of the intriguing style and story between a speaker and singer. Overall, “The Weary Blues” interprets the speaker’s experience of blues with an empathetic view of African American soul and art. The musician tries to get relief through his music, which voices Hughes deeper meaning of African American double-consciousness during the Harlem Renaissance’s literary movement. Hughes writes that the musician’s blues exhausts him to sleep, but the tune stays stuck in his head, which infers an unanswered ending that means there is still more to the story—he is still unsatisfied with his troubles. In general, the rhythmic flow and music of the poem signifies the time of change for African Americans and racial pride in the connection between arts and literature.
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.
Caitlin Stone even stated in a review that “Suffering, misunderstanding, and brotherly division are some of the most potent themes of James Baldwin’s short story ‘Sonny’s Blues’.” Now James Baldwin himself was born into Harlem neighborhoods which was a huge focal point of African American culture at it’s prime. At a point, Harlem was known for its culture and bright jazz musicians and artist, although it was sadly affected by much poverty. Now with “Sonny’s Blues” it can be quite an intriguing story as it focuses on human suffering but overcoming it. Some can relate to this story to some degree when it comes to its overall focus and themes that come into play. Like for example, Sonny began to take heroin or drugs in general due to him feeling trapped by everything around him.
Hughes' use of consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, and rhyme in "The Weary Blues" gives the poem a deep feeling of sorrow while, at the same time, allows the reader to feel as if he or she is actually listening to the blues sung by the poem's character. The Blues musical move was prominent during the 1920s and '30s, a time known as the Harlem Renaissance. Blues music characteristically told the story of someone's anguish, the key factors, and the resolution of the situation. This is precisely what Hughes' poem, "The Weary Blues," describes. Hughes uses the rhythmic structure of blues music and the improvisational rhythms of jazz in his innovative development of "The Weary Blues."
O Blues!” (Norton 1733) “The Weary Blues” captures an important element of the black identity, that of its music and the soul which is put into its expression. The poem captures that soul of the black man as he wails a mellow tune to the beat of a blues rhythm. Langston Hughes established himself as the poet laureate of Harlem. He served as the voice of the downtrodden, as well the elite in black culture. The criticism that he once received is now praise as his influence is manifested in the affirmation of the black identity.
“With the writing of Jazz, Morrison takes on new tasks and new risks. Jazz, for example, doesn’t fit the classic novel format in terms of design, sentence structure, or narration. Just like the music this novel is named after, the work is improvisational.” -www.enotes.com/jazz/ “As rich in themes and poetic images as her Pulitzer Prize- winning Beloved…. Morrison conjures up hand of slavery on Harlem’s jazz generation. The more you listen, the more you crave to hear.”-Glamour Toni Morrison’s Jazz is an eclectic reading based on elements of African American culture that produce, surround, and are an integral part of literary text.
Many viewed this genre as a voice for the black communities and as “the New Negro poets expressed a deep pride in being Black” (Smith, 1983, p. 37) it is easy to see how this influenced their poetry. The main theme of Blues were the troubles of life and finding an escape, and this underlying dissatisfaction was incorporated into poetry as a response to many of the injustices present. For example, a clear example of this is Langston Hughes’ Homesick Blues which uses many of the key techniques from Blues songs, such as short lines to create urgency. The poem discusses the effect of prejudices and injustices on the black communities, especially when it comes to finding a home and an identity. There is a subtle, irregular rhyme scheme from words such as “sun… done” (Ramazani, 1994, pp.
Towards the end of the story, after Sonny’s amazing performance, the narrator saw how Sonny’s struggles and dreams came pouring out through his music. In other words, Baldwin’s literary work, Sonny’s Blues is a story of suffering and triumph. These themes have been depicted countless times in his other works as well. Throughout James Baldwin’s life and in his literary works, he have been trying to make meaning of the cruelty and hardships in life. This is what, precisely, Sonny is trying to do with his music.