Sonny Blues Research Paper

2629 words - 11 pages

The Illusion of ComfortSonny BluesIn Sonny's Blues, by James Baldwin, Sonny used his music and drugs as a source ofpower to distance himself from all the negativity in his life. What he didn't realize is thatdrugs just gave him an illusion of power, while the music was what really helped him.Every individual has a unique kind of life. There are people who are fortunate enough tohave a good relationship with their families, friends, and take the straight path through life, butthere are also people who are not so lucky to have those things and tend to turn to other methodswhich help them develop an illusion, that their life is good. One of the many possible ways anindividual could do this, is just by simply living with one standard: think positive. This ideapractically forces the ones affected negatively to think more about the pro's of the situation athand, and less about the cons. Many seek support and help from sources such as family andfriends, creative means such as art and music, or even learning a skill. It could be something thatmight not be interesting to someone directly, but it could prove to be a useful tool to have in apotential situation in the future. Unfortunately some of those methods include the use of drugsand alcohol, which usually lead to horrible consequences. Once dependent on such harmfulsubstances, almost never does the person identify their habits as a problem before it's too late.Sometimes when it is impossible to escape physically, we need to try to escape mentally. Thedifference between the two is the ability to have a conscious, pro-active mind to do what isultimately right. At times escaping mentally can get a person carried away in their beliefs, andcause them to become mentally unstable.The story begins with Sonny being arrested for heroin use while his brother, the narrator,teaches school. The story then takes the reader though the characters lives as seen from thenarrator's point of view. The music helps each of them deal with their suffering and pain. Thestory suggests that sometimes music can help us express our suffering, deal with our problems,and understand each other. Sonny is shown as a troubled young man who, becomes anadult. He has a dream of becoming a great musician but the drug infested environment in Harlemthreatens to destroy him. He uses heroin to overcome his pain and problems. We seethat the character of Sonny changes by developing the ability to deal with his pain and problemsthrough music instead of drugs. His brother is also in great pain, but he has learned toovercome it by interacting with others and his family. Throughout the story he is distant fromSonny but doesn't want to be. He loves his brother but does not understand him. They are seeingthe world from two different points of view. Sonny's older brother changes as well, but heunderstands that he is changing. In the last pages of the story he begins to understand Sonny forthe first time. In the end Sonny's bother begins to understand the...

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