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 lives.
Sonny's brother point of view is shared in this story as he feels responsible to keep his brother safe. The brother learns to listen throughout this story to better understand Sonny's life. This story is primarily about Sonny's brothers' life, how he struggled in his life and how he is now watching his younger brother Sonny go through the same situation. He worries about Sonny's life; that Sonny might not be able to escape the turmoil that life brings especially being a musician with no ties to family and job security. Sonny's brother sees Sonny trying to become a jazz musician, he watches and listens as Sonny goes through many difficulties in life. He doesn't want Sonny to be a jazz musician, because there is no future in this. At the end of the story, Sonny's brother attends the nightclub to watch and listen to his brother perform. During this visit, he learns and listens to understand how Sonny uses his music to survive; the music gives meaning to his life.
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....