The American Heritage Dictionary defines blues as (1) a state of depression or melancholy, and (2) a style of jazz evolved from southern American Negro secular songs. It is also inclusive of pensive reflection and contemplation which is descriptive of Baldwin's writing of Sonny's Blues.
It is very difficult to determine the exact origin of the blues. Although its earliest roots evolved from West Africa, the blues probably emerged in the United States around the 1800's relative to the African America plight into slavery, as spirituals, work songs, and "arhoolies" (traditional, vernacular, or regional music) (The Arhoolie Foundation). All had some form of influence on the blues as a distinct form of music. The emergence of the blues would have occurred with the social and economic circumstances of the African Americans. (Crosby) Blues was a way of communicating discontent. But it was the spiritual blues that was the music of an unhappy people - the music that told of death, and suffering, and a cry for some hope of freedom and liberation from their torment. Yes, the slaves did get their freedom but were still bound to their "Chains" by racism.
The content is written in the style of the blues not only in the music but in the social perspective of the times in Harlem in respect to the sufferings and struggles of the African-American past and present experiences, and what they were going to encount...
... middle of paper ...
...re that this was only a moment..." (246) But it was that moment that bridged Sonny and his brother. "They all gathered around Sonny and Sonny played. Every now and again one of them seemed to say, amen." (246)
Baldwin, James. "Sonny's Blues." Literature: A Portable Anthology.
Ed. Janet E. Gardner, et al. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2004.
The Arhoolie Foundation. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cosby, Ethan. "Rural Blues." An Essay on Blues History
Anoca Organization. www.anoca.org/jazz/he/charlie_parker.html
Akst, Harry, and Grant Clarke. Lyrics: "Am I Blue."
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- An Analysis of Baldwin's, Sonny's Blues Sipiora identifies the critcal issues in Sonny's Blues with the character giving his self-reflections. Sipiora also says that literary characters sometimes perceive or not perceive the relationships or circumstances. We also have to judge characters in how they react to other characters whether they acted in good faith or not in good faith. We have to ask ourselves when we read literature if the character is being objective looking for personal qualities in a character when they come in contact with another character or is the character looking at another character in a judgemental, stereotypical, or preconceived way of thinking.... [tags: Sonny's Blues Essays]
525 words (1.5 pages)
- Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin "Sonny's Blues" is a story about two brothers, their past, and how their differences came between them. They were apart for several years while Sonny was in jail, but once he got out they had a chance to mend their pasts. "Sonny's Blues" is a well written story that teaches a lesson that has value in every day life. The tone is melancholy and reminiscent. The brother is remembering the past and reflection on the mistakes he and Sonny made. He is sad over their fallout, Sonny's trouble with drugs, and the death of his daughter.... [tags: Sonny's Blues James Baldwin]
501 words (1.4 pages)
- Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin A captivating tale of a relationship between two troubling brothers in Harlem, "Sonny's Blues" is told from the perception of Sonny's brother, whose name is never mentioned. Baldwin's choice of Sonny's brother as a narrator is what makes "Sonny's Blues" significant in terms of illustrating the relationship and emotional complications of Sonny and his brother. The significance of "Sonny's Blues" lies in the way Sonny's brother describes their relationship based on what he observes, hears, and feels, and how he struggles trying to understand Sonny through the course of the story.... [tags: Sonny's Blues James Baldwin]
1217 words (3.5 pages)
- There are many things we learn of Sonny and his nameless brother in Sonny's Blues. We learn their mannerisms, hobbies, occupations, and even their addictions. It seems we learn nearly everything about the pair; minus the narrators name, as previously stated. Hearing of their histories and the pains they've under gone, we see how they deal with their pain, which often truly tells character. Sonny's Blues isn't a story of two brothers living in a rough city; one of whom is a talented musician. The story is so much more, it's the point of tossing the main two stereotypes of African-Americans in an urban environment.... [tags: James Baldwin Sonny's Blues]
1007 words (2.9 pages)
- Brothers' Relationship in Baldwin's Sonny's Blues Sipiora states that, "Characters often perceive (or fail to perceive) the context and implications of the circumstances and relationships they are in. Some characters act in good faith, whereas others do not. As we examine literary personae, it is especially important to judge them in terms of how they react to others" (77) As "Sonny's Blues" opens, the narrator tells of his discovery that his younger brother has been arrested for selling and using heroin.... [tags: Sonny's Blues Essays]
571 words (1.6 pages)
- Symbolism in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues Missing Works Cited Several passages found throughout "Sonny's Blues" indicate that as a whole, the neighborhood of Harlem is in the turmoil of a battle between good and evil. The narrator describes Sonny's close encounters with the evil manifested in drugs and crime, as well as his assertive attempts at distancing himself from the darker side. The streets and communities of Harlem are described as being a harsh environment which claims the lives of many who have struggled against the constant enticement of emotional escape through drugs, and financial escape through crime.... [tags: James Baldwin Sonny's Blues]
1244 words (3.6 pages)
- The theme of "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin focuses on whether a person should be conventional in making decisions for their life, or if they should follow their heart and do what is right for them. A person begins with strengths, many of which they lose along the way. At some point along their heroic journey a person may regain their strengths and develop new ones. Each phase of this journey will have an effect on them and others around them. According to his brother, who narrates "Sonny's Blues," Sonny was a bright-eyed young man full of gentleness and privacy.... [tags: Sonny's Blues Essays]
2967 words (8.5 pages)
- James Baldwin's Story Sonny's Blues James Baldwin?s story ?Sonny?s Blues. is a deep and reflexive composition. Baldwin uses the life of two brothers to establish parallelism of personal struggle with society, and at the same time implies a psychological process of one brother leaving his socially ingrained prejudices to understand and accept the other's flaws. The story is narrated by Sonny?s older brother whom remained unnamed the entire story. Sonny's brother is a pragmatic person, a teacher, husband, and father.... [tags: James Baldwin Sonny's Blues Essays]
1265 words (3.6 pages)
- Learning to Listen in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues", the verb, to listen, is employed many times in varying contexts. This theme is developed throughout the story as the narrator learns to listen more closely to the aural stimuli (or sounds) which enter his ears. In order to understand the narrator's heightened degree of perception as it unfolds in "Sonny's Blues", it is necessary to begin with a thorough discussion of hearing and listening in general, and then as they relate to the story.... [tags: Sonny's Blues Essays]
682 words (1.9 pages)
- Siblings' Relationship in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues Eminent psychologists have made convincing arguments for the effect birth order has on personality. In addition, laymen can cite innumerable examples of domineering, pragmatic, reliable older siblings contrasting with those fitting the "youngest stereotype" -- irresponsible, spoiled, and selfish. Such character traits often cause lifelong conflict between siblings. In his short story "Sonny's Blues," James Baldwin shows a profound example of such sibling friction.... [tags: Sonny's Blues Essays]
1606 words (4.6 pages)