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. "When he was about as old as the boys in my classes his face had been bright and open, there was a lot of copper in it; and he'd had wonderfully direct brown eyes, a great gentleness and privacy. I wondered what he looked like now" (Baldwin 272). Something happened to Sonny, as it did to most of the young people growing up in Harlem. His physical journey growing up in the streets caused a great deal of inner turmoil about whom he was and what kind of life he was to have. One thing for sure, by the time his mother died, Sonny was ready to get out of Harlem. " 'I ain't learning nothing in school,' he said. 'Even when I go.' He turned away from me and opened the window and threw his cigarette out into the narrow alley. I watched his back. 'At least, I ain't learning nothing you'd want me to learn.' He slammed the window so hard I thought the glass would fly out, and turned back to me. 'And I'm sick of the stink of these garbage cans!' " (Baldwin 285).
The garbage cans Sonny referred to seem to symbolize the life he physically lived, his inner or spiritual life and how he dealt with it.
I was sure that the first time Sonny had ever had horse, he couldn't have ...
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...Drama. 7th edition. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman, 1999. 272-295.
Reilly, John M. " 'Sonny's Blues': James Baldwin's Image of Black Community." James Baldwin: A Critical Evaluation. Ed.Therman B. O'Daniel. Howard University Press. Washington, D.C. 1977. 163-169.
Baldwin, James. "Sonny's Blues." N.p.: n.p., n.d. 122-48. Web. 12 May 2015.
"James Baldwin Biography." Bio. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.
"James Baldwin." PBS. PBS, 29 Nov. 2006. Web. 11 May 2015.
N.d. Poetry Foundation. Web. 11 May 2015.
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