Sonnys Blues Harlem Essay

Sonny's Blues in Harlem

896 WordsFeb 16th, 20184 Pages

Some of us have to struggle to make ends meet and others are born with money at their feet already. “Sonny’s Blues” opens up in Harlem with the narrator on a bus reading a newspaper learning that his brother, Sonny, has been arrested for selling heroin. Sonny’s brother takes him in after he is released from jail. However, his brother is scared if he lets him back into his home he will fall into his old ways. Sonny’s true passion in life is to become a Jazz musician but his family doesn’t believe in what he wants to do. Sonny want’s his brother to go with him to a jazz club to see how he actually is and not just seeing him as a dope selling drug addict. At the end of Sonny’s set, he realizes that Jazz has helped Sonny to stay free and express himself. Through Marxist criticism Baldwin highlights the power struggle of the main characters and the world in which they live. First off, the two main characters that go through a power struggle are Sonny and his brother whom is unnamed. Sonny is an up and coming Jazz musician and his brother, seven years older, is a high school math teacher. Sonny is different than his brother because Sonny knows what he wants and he wants to give meaning in whatever he does. As Joseph Flibbert states in his article, “When Sonny begins to play the piano, initially with enthusiasm, eventually with consuming passion. He takes no lessons. He plays from the soul. The improvisational…

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Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin Essay

1228 Words5 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. This is a story of how two African Americans brothers take their own path through life as they struggle to find meaning in their…show more content…

The author used the title of the story Sonny's Blues, to give the readers the hint about the theme of the story. The noun "blues" is defined as a mood of unhappiness and depression. This theme is present throughout the story. "Blues" is a style of music that expresses a sad mood. It is synonymous with low spirits and depressed emotions. The "blues," both as a state of being and as music, is basic to the structure of the story, and both the narrator and his brother Sonny have had their share of low spirits.
The opposing lives of the two brothers contribute to the theme of being safe and while being risk takers. In this story, Baldwin writes about two brothers who grew up together. As each of the boys grew older, they fell apart from one another and lived two completely different lives. The narrator, who is the older brother, seemed to be more conservative and more determined to develop a good future. Sonny, the younger brother, was more free-willed and adventurous as he lived in the moment. Sonny did not even know what his plans were for the next hour, much less for the rest of his life. The narrator's major source of discontent has been his selfish desire to learn and lead a respectable, safe life as a high-school algebra teacher. When he learns of

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