The Relationship Between the Life of James Baldwin and Sonny’s Blues

Better Essays
James Baldwin, the author of “Sonny Blues,” is an African American novelist and storywriter. In one of his most famous stories, “Sonny’s Blues,” he writes about a young boy that has an addiction to heroin. The story shows the relationship between two brothers and the problems that they, and their family have to endure. The brothers do not have a close bond during the time that the story takes place. James Baldwin, while growing up also dealt with many family issues. He didn’t know his biological father and had trouble being accepted into society being a homosexual African American. The boy portrayed as Sonny in “Sonny’s Blues” very closely resembles the way Baldwin must have been treated growing up. They both were shunned from society, and both struggled with the way their families interacted with one another. Baldwin could have purposely done this to illustrate what his childhood was like and express it to the world through the story that he wrote.

Shortly after James Baldwin was born, his mother divorced his biological father. He was addicted to drugs and his mother did not want her children growing up around a man like that. Baldwin’s mom moved their family up to Harlem New York. There she married a preacher by the name of David Baldwin. Their family was very poor. For the majority of his childhood, James had the responsibility of taking care of his younger siblings while his mother and father tried to put food on the table. Baldwin’s stepfather was known to have been abusive to James and his other siblings, but he especially harshest on James. While James was a teen he had a self-realization that he was in fact gay. Being an African American was difficult enough in the 1940’s but to add to that he was a writer and a homos...

... middle of paper ...

...g blues.

As a young child growing up, James Baldwin experienced many hardships. He battled through social segregation and had a hard time finding a place where he truly fit in. 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.
Get Access