Themes In Sonny's Blues

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In the 1950s, the concept of drug abuse and addiction was quite known when it came to heroin addiction on the streets of urban neighborhoods. Heroin became predominately used in urban ghetto areas especially, after World War II when it was widely distributed. Following its massive distribution came sparks of different varieties of music hitting the mainstream crowd. Now writer James Baldwin really had the ability to transform his own personal and social concerns into great works of literature. One of his earliest popular short stories was “Sonny’s Blues” where he takes on drug addiction, Harlem, and post-World War II American society. The story really plays with its characters expressing the true struggle within the weight of pressure during…show more content…
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. Like as if the things he’s trapped by what he is supposed to strive for instead of doing what he wants to do in his life. It’s like a form of escape as he attempts to find his direction in the world around him although he isn’t an “adult” but also not necessarily a “child” either. Most of us as teens tend to try to find ourselves in high school and soon to discover our true potential. But the core issue is we still are told to listen to those in higher power even if we at that age have our own opinions and ideas that shape who we are. So what Sonny is dealing with is not being taken seriously when it comes to his overall desire to become a well-known jazz musician etc. Therefore, Sonny was only a young man trying to figure out what really made him happy as a musician without dealing with the social discrimination of his life choices; only leading to his escape from reality with the use of
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