More Than Just Words and Beats

Topics: Syncopation, Music, James Baldwin Pages: 5 (1767 words) Published: April 26, 2013
Jamar Bateman
Mrs. Dighton
February 9, 2013
Research Paper #1
More than just words and beats
In “Sonny’s Blue” by James Baldwin, the pattern being played by the males of family all ended with darkness and pain. The pattern began with a beat, but just not original beat. A beat the never seem to end, this beats was constantly played on repeat for years to come. The most common thing in each out their lives was music. Music was producer of the dark painful sound track being played. Sonny used music to deal with his personal trails and tragedy in his life. Although his family knew what was going on, nobody could understand the beat or rhythm that Sonny has chosen to play for himself. Since music seem like the problem in Sonny’s Life; how does it help deal with personal trails, tragedy with parents, and identity crisis To summarize the narrator of Sonny’s Blues, he felt that Sonny was a bright young man but after hearing Sonny saying “ain’t nothing you can do. Can’t much help old Sonny no more, I guess (Baldwin 3).” The narrator was shock; hearing Sonny talking in such a funny way, he just said to himself “I thought Sonny was smart boy, I thought he was too smart to get hung (Baldwin 3).” Later on the narrator was listening to music which he felt was shaking the pavement; however not in fear, he enjoyed the music. After a few years later, Sonny came to his senses and decided to write his brother a letter explaining himself. The key line in his letter was when he stated “I don’t want you to think it had anything to do with me being a musician. It’s more than that. Or maybe less than that. I can’t get anything straight in my head down here and I try not to think about what’s going to happen to me when I get outside again (Baldwin 5).” Sonny felt confused, but he was sure that if had nothing to do with music. In fact, that’s why he wasn’t worried about what was going to happen next; just like the track ride. However, the most important person in Sonny’s life other than his mother was his father. Sonny was loved by his father so much that he stayed fighting for and with him. They was different in shape but had the same morals and privacy. After his mother died, Sonny was asked an important question by the narrator. “What do you want to do?” asked by the narrator (Baldwin 11). Sonny answered “I’m going to be a musician (Baldwin 11).”The words were spoken so heavy, so real, the narrator was completed stuck. Sonny told the narrator that everything takes time and it don’t seem possible if you could understand where I’m coming from, the only thing I want to do is play music. Sonny stated “I think people ought to do what they want to do, what else are they alive for? (Baldwin 12)” Even Isabel, narrator wife, was confused with Sonny’s life style. She stated how living with him was like living with sound, but the sound doesn’t make any sense. By time they knew Sonny was gone, all they could have realize was all his records was gone.

In “Sonny Blues” by James Baldwin, he stated, “All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours (Baldwin 22).” Baldwin claims that music is more than just beats and words; it’s the life, the struggle, the beliefs, and the goals of the person who created the music. While I agree with Baldwin that nobody understands what Sonny is going through furthermore the music helps feeds Sonny’s soul and also helps him deal with his personal suffering.

In fact, Sonny reminded us that music help leads...
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