This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Suffering As A Common Denominator Essay

1573 words - 6 pages

“Sonny’s Blues” is a short story in which James Baldwin, the author, presents an existential world where suffering characterizes a man’s basic state. The theme of tragedy and suffering can be transformed into a communal art form such as blues music. Blues music serves as a catalyst for change because the narrator starts to understand that not only the music but also himself and his relationship with Sonny. The narrator’s view of his brother begins to change; he understands that Sonny uses music as an exit of his suffering and pain. This story illustrates a wide critical examination. Richard N. Albert is one critic that explores and analyzes the world of “Sonny’s Blues”. His analysis, “The Jazz-Blues Motif in James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”” is an example of how one can discover plot, characterization and jazz motif that builds this theme of suffering.
Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients that make up the plot: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice. In the beginning of the story, the narrator reads in the newspaper about Sonny’s arrest for using and selling heroin. This causes the narrator to reflect on his and Sonny’s pasts. He doesn’t understand why Sonny does drugs and feels helpless. This is where we see the narrator’s suffering and pain. He is scared for Sonny and doesn’t know how to help him. Baldwin writes, “A great block of ice got settled in my belly and kept melting there slowly all day long, while I taught my classes algebra. It was a special kind of ice. . . . Sometimes it hardened and seemed to expand until I felt my guts were going to come spilling out or that I was going to choke or scream” (Baldwin 180). People don't always outwardly express their anguish. The narrator's suffering is immense (it threatens to overpower him here), but he can't just fall apart. Perhaps his suffering is made even greater because this great, big block of ice just stays where it is. He can't get it out of his system. In the critical article, Albert notes, “When he hears of Sonny’s troubles with drugs and the law, he feels threatened” (Albert 179). As the story proceeds, the narrator is led to a personal awareness of human frailty through the death of his young daughter. Recalling how his mother sympathetically comforted his father when his father's brother was intentionally hit and killed by a car driven by a drunken white man, the narrator acts on his mother's request that he offer the same sympathy to Sonny in times of duress. Listening to Sonny's jazz solo at a bar in Greenwich Village, the narrator is led to an understanding of universal suffering and of his brother's attitudes. The narrator asks, “I said: "But there's no way not to suffer – is there, Sonny?" The narrator is resigned to suffering. He's just accepted it as part of the human condition. He witnesses Sonny in his element,...

Find Another Essay On Suffering as a Common Denominator

A Depiction of the Sufferings of Slaves Specific details on the suffering of African slaves as well as some basic history

1256 words - 5 pages first slaves arrived in 1619 on a Dutch vessel in Jamestown, Virginia, to be traded for food. The first shipload held only twenty slaves, but once the slave trade was started, it increased quite rapidly. The Africans were originally treated as indentured servants, people who would serve a master for a predetermined number of years in exchange for the transportation to America and room and board. After the years of serving were completed, the

To what extent can the Aeneid be viewed as a tragedy? Answer with reference to the: Destruction of Troy and its people; suffering of Aeneas; suffering and death of Dido?

599 words - 2 pages seen as an example of a tragic character, due to the fact her suffering and subsequent death is neither her fault nor felt by anyone else in Carthage. Because she has been shown to be essentially a good queen, due to her pietas and her devotion to Sychaeus, her suffering on her own becomes tragic, as the reader must pity that someone of such noble characteristics could find themselves in this situation. Equally so, the reader must be afraid that

A Misrepresentation Is Defined At Common Law As A "Statement Of Fact Made By One Party To The Other Party, Which Is False

1913 words - 8 pages From looking at the facts laid out by Bruce in his letter to me regarding his purchase of a second hand Mercedes from Asbury Motors it seems that the most likely action is that of misrepresentation. A Misrepresentation is defined at common law as a "statement of fact made by one party to the other party, which is false. And while not necessarily forming a term of the contract, is yet one of the main reasons which induces the later to enter into

Affirmative Debate Case Arguing, Resolved: As a general principle, individuals have an obligation to value the common good above their own interests

1087 words - 4 pages , Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University, that I must stand in firm affirmation of today's resolution:Resolved: As a general principle, individuals have an obligation to value the common good above their own interests.ObservationAll members of any society are required to act in accordance withthe laws of the land. The law is assumed to be made to protect the common good. Since the law is the only societal obligation that we are required to

Imagine that you have served as a common soldier in the Confederate Army from 1861 to 1865

1018 words - 4 pages not follow because our ranks were disorganized. A total of 1,750 Confederates were killed, as well as our general and colonel. Our victory is said to have convinced Lincoln that the war was not going to be an easily won war.April 1862 was the battle of Shiloh. General Johnston led us on a 20-mile advance to the Union soldiers, planning to defeat Grant. The battle was delayed three days though because of many difficulties we faced. On April 6, we

The reasons why re-urbanization as opposed to suburbanization has become a common process in some parts of the world

275 words - 2 pages This process would most likely take place in MEDCs, because LEDCs are still in the process of urbanization.Re-urbanization is when people move into areas in the urban zone's which have previously been abandoned, which usually occurs after a regeneration scheme is used for that area.Example: London DocklandsIn the 1980's the Docklands development corporation took the task of regenerating of London Docklands. At the end, they were able to

"The Hubris of Albion" is a brief attack on common historical stereotypes of Aficans as savages who were brought to civilization by American slave traders

681 words - 3 pages The Hubris of Albion"Beware prejudices. They are like rats, and men's minds are like traps; prejudices get in easily, but it is doubtful if they ever get out."Lord JefferyFor as many years as America and Europe have sought repentance for their atrocities to Africa, we have also searched the annals of history to find how such a thing as slavery or concept as racial superiority could ever thrive in modern civilization. We have debated for ages

FRACTIONS

775 words - 3 pages denominators, you do it the same as the addition, except you subtract. For numbers with a larger whole number but smaller fraction, follow these steps:Make a common denominator.Take one whole number off of the bigger one with the smaller fraction and convert it to a fraction with the same denominator as the original fraction and then add it to that fraction (8½=7 3/2). So if the first problem read 8½-4¾, after both of these steps, you

Nietzsche And Platonism

930 words - 4 pages everyone is equal, everything is perfect. Since all suffering is the result of the powerful imposing their will upon the weaker, in these other worlds, all suffering ceases. Pain and want are eliminated, life is happy, fulfilling and easy. This is all the result of the fact that the common structure of these utopias is in perfect unison with the capacities of the weak. But, in actual fact, this is a denial of the real structure of the world and a

Written Task

1040 words - 5 pages , strengthening and bringing more emotional resonance to his subject matter. Dr. King’s peaceful and powerful message, strongly marked by a common denominator based on inclusion and national identity, was a critical factor to start producing the change he envisioned for the oppressed masses, and as a result, he became an iconic figure of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. In his speech, Dr. King made several allusions to former President Lincoln

Equally Consider This

1631 words - 7 pages , that property must be such a minor, “lowest common denominator” quality that all human sentient creatures possess it. The problem with this is that if such a low, fully encompassing trait were to exist, members of other species would possess the trait as well. If this is the case, then, according to Singer, there can be no property specific to human sentient creatures which grants them equal consideration while withholding equal consideration

Similar Essays

The Suffering Of China As A Result Of Economic Growth

1250 words - 5 pages The Suffering of China as a Result of Economic Growth China, as a crucial country in the world, is suffering from a variety of costs of economic growth while the economic growth is incredibly fast in recent years. A division between rich and poor, unemployment, and various external costs, unbalance of payments, unstable exchange rate consumption of non-renewable resources and the risk of inflation and banking collapse have been the

Common Man As Tragic Hero In Death Of A Salesman

1593 words - 6 pages Common Man as Tragic Hero in Death of a Salesman What is tragedy? While the literal definition may have changed over the centuries, one man believed he knew the true meaning of a tragic performance. Aristotle belonged to the culture that first invented tragic drama – the ancient Greeks. Through this, he gave himself credibility enough to illustrate the universally necessary elements of tragic drama. In The Poetics, Aristotle gives a

Racism As A Common Problem In The 21st Century

2207 words - 9 pages Racism as a Common Problem in the 21st Century Racism has been a problem since the very first day that two men of different Races met. Racism is defined as the belief in the superiority of one Race over all others. Often racism is a belief that one type of person has got better physical attributes, or is more intelligent. This belief can have an enormous affect over the way that one group of people treats another. In

Batman As A Man Who May Be Suffering From Dissociative Identity Disorder

977 words - 4 pages Batman as a Man Who May be Suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder Many of us have grown up watching cartoons throughout our childhood. Of the many cartoons on television is Batman. This cartoon has been on television for many years. It is a story of a man who is a successful businessman during the day and a mysterious superhero by night. Bruce Wayne is the man who is this mysterious man with the two identities. He is both Bruce