The Troubled Brother In Sonny’s Blues, By James Baldwin

744 words - 3 pages

Sonny’s Blues is first-person narration by the elder brother of the musician struggling with heroin addiction and issues with law. However, on closer inspection it appears that Sonny’s unnamed brother is also very troubled. His difficulties cannot easily be perceived and recognized especially by the character himself. The story gives accounts of the problems Sonny’s brother has with taking responsibility, understanding and respecting his younger brother’s lifestyle.
From the first lines of the story the reader gets the impression that Sonny’s brother tries to block out, ignore the truth about his brother and his troubles. The reaction the character has to the newspaper article about Sonny ...view middle of the document...

Only when the brothers’ lives take different courses the elder sibling remembers that he was present at all important moments in Sonny’s life. The narrator was there when Sonny was born, when he learned to walk, when their father and later their mother died but chose not to take interest in his younger brother’s life. Instead he came up with the lame excuse: “The seven years’ difference in our ages lay between us like a chasm” (Baldwin 296). When Sonny prefers the company of his friends he tries to make it clear that he sees people who respect his wishes and ambition as his true family. However, the narrator fails to get the true meaning of Sonny’s behavior and feels jealous and vindictive thinking: “You going to need me, baby, one of these cold, rainy days” (Baldwin 305). The irony of the situation is that when Sonny is in real trouble the narrator doesn’t have the courage to act like the elder brother.
The fact that the narrator is older than Sonny is the root of his behavior. In a way his “complex of the elder sibling” is the root of his trouble. In the story, Sonny’s brother sees the people he...

Find Another Essay On The Troubled Brother in Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin

Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin Essay

1334 words - 6 pages setting, characters, and theme shows this in many ways and how the struggle was inevitable for both Sonny and the narrator in many ways. Even though Sonny fell into the darkness, he was able himself out showing that no matter how far you fall, there is always a way out. It took some time, but Sonny was able to overcome his suffering and struggles, overcome his drug addictions, and finds himself through music. Works Cited Baldwin, James. “Sonny’s Blues.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.12th ed. New York: Pearson, 2013. Print.

Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin Essay

852 words - 4 pages story, Sonny is constantly struggling to break free. Sonny is physically imprisoned in jail as well as by his addiction to heroin. The narrator is confined to Harlem to be specific. In addition, they are both trapped within themselves, the narrator unable to express his emotions or live up to his obligations as a brother until his daughter’s death gives him the motivation that he needs to change and do so, while Sonny is unable to express himself without heroin and his music. Works Cited Baldwin, James. "Sonny’s Blues." The Story and its Writer: An Introduction to Shorty Fiction. Ed. Ann Charters. 8th ed. Bedord / St. Martin's, 2011. 835--839. Print.

Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin

1114 words - 5 pages James Baldwin uses Bible stories as a foundation for his own stories. Baldwin once stated, "I was born in the church" ("Notes" 14). He intimately knew and loved the Bible. The King James Bible became his literary text during his Harlem childhood. This is solely because of the fact that he could analyze the text and relate it to his own stories. James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”, exemplifies how his love for the Bible allows him to build a great

Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin - 2001 words

2001 words - 9 pages “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin this story is about two brothers that grew up and still live in Harlem and the ways they handle the pain and suffering that have happened in their lives. The city of Harlem plays an important role in this story because both brothers’ are trying to escape where they came from. Feeling trapped by his surroundings Sonny turned to drugs. The narrator of the story, as we learn later on is Sonny’s older brother, reads

Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin - 1988 words

1988 words - 8 pages While reading “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin theme, symbolism, and motifs were discovered throughout the entire short story. Sonny one of the two main characters, is dealing with a drug addiction and is now following his dreams of becoming a jazz musician. The narrator, whose name was never given, does his best to keep the promise he made his mother years ago, to be his brother’s keeper. James Baldwin, an African American author, grew up in

Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin - 696 words

696 words - 3 pages Although presenting just a small sample for comparison there are definite points in this story where the lives of Sonny and his brother coincide with that of James Baldwin; the location of the story is from his childhood; the fact that the narrator’s name is never mentioned and the other characters are referred to by their familial position suggests Baldwin’s feelings about his place in his own family; as the oldest child and the only one in the

Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin - 958 words

958 words - 4 pages Symbolism is such an interesting aspect of stories that when you take the time to sit back and analyze after initially reading it, things seem to pop out at you. Something so small could mean something so great to the story and it may not occur to the reader until they have read through a few times. In “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, symbolism was used quite a bit to represent different aspects of the story. One main use of symbolism was

Communicating Through Music in Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin

2889 words - 12 pages in the music of Charlie Parker and the jazz culture as a whole; the narrator was likely influenced by a white ideology. In contrast, the narrator assumed Sonny to be “beaten” by this culture, so he took on the role of an older and more mature brother: he attempted to establish himself as middle class role model Sonny could look to as an example (“Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin, 116). He is portrayed as algebra teacher who would classify himself as

Music as Salvation in Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin

1154 words - 5 pages In the story, Sonny’s Blues, James Baldwin uses music, jazz, and hymns to shape the story and show how it shapes Sonny’s life and how music is inherent to his survival. All of this is seen through the older brother’s eyes; the older brother is the narrator and the reader begins to understand Sonny through the older brother’s perspective. Baldwin writes the story like a jazz song to make a story out of his father’s past and his brother’s

Drugs and Musicians in “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin

876 words - 4 pages When first reading “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, it may initially seem that the relationship between musicians and drugs is synonymous. Public opinion suggests that musicians and drugs go hand and hand. The possibility lies that Sonny’s passion for jazz music is the underlying reason for his drug use, or even the world of jazz music itself brought drugs into Sonny’s life. The last statement is what the narrator believes to be true. However

Sibling Influence in The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich and Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin

932 words - 4 pages “The Red Convertible” by Louise Erdrich and “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, both accounts of brotherly experience shown through separation and drug abuse.      Both “The Red Convertible” and “Sonny’s Blues” revolve around brotherly connection. In “The Red Convertible,” the main speaker Lyman uses his red convertible, one he shares with his brother, as an analogy to their relationship. While reminiscing about his

Similar Essays

Brotherly Love In Sonny’s Blues By James Baldwin And Tobias Wolff´S The Rich Brother

2005 words - 9 pages "The complexity of " In both "Sonny’s Blues" and "The Rich Brother", one of the two brothers encounters success through his life whereas the younger one does not follow the same path and constantly disappoints the other. Pete and Sonny’s brother unconditionally love their own brothers for numerous different reasons and they feel an obligation to the other. They believe that it is their duty to take care of Donald and Sonny, but at the same

Communication In Sonny’s Blues By James Baldwin

1788 words - 8 pages “Sonny’s Blues” is a well known short story, written by James Baldwin. The main conflict in the story is communication between brothers and finding a way to understand each other. Sonny’s brother, who is the narrator of the story, finds himself comfortable teaching algebra that “suggests his desire for standard procedures and elegant, clear-cut solutions” (Murray 353), while Sonny’s passion is playing jazz. The narrator has a hard time

Suffering In Sonny’s Blues, By James Baldwin

985 words - 4 pages Suffering is a part of life and dealing with it is always the hardest part. The short story, “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, describes how each individual character tries to deal or cope with certain happenings that occur throughout the story or their lifespan. These happenings include death, misunderstandings, and the ability to finally deal with hidden suffering. Sonny, Sonny’s older brother, who is also the narrator, Isabel, Sonny’s parents

Expectations In Sonny’s Blues, By James Baldwin

1555 words - 7 pages Segregation – prejudice – persecution: slavery had ended, but African-Americans were still forced to carve out a grim existence beneath the dispassionate stare of narrow-minded bigots. Soon, the Civil Rights Movement would gain momentum and drastically alter such social exclusion, but James Baldwin writes his story “Sonny’s Blues” before this transformation has occurred. In the style of other Post-Modernist writers of his day, Baldwin invents