Point of View in Sonny's Blues

Topics: First-person narrative, English-language films, Narrative Pages: 3 (968 words) Published: June 29, 2008
The Effects of Point of View in “Sonny’s Blues”

James Baldwin’s, “Sonny’s Blues,” illustrates the story between two different brothers as they struggle to discover the character of one another. “Sonny’s Blues” is narrated through the older brother’s point of view, as he portrays their difficulties in growing up, separation, and reunion. Baldwin purposely picks to tell the story in the first person point of view because of the omniscient and realistic effects it contribute to the story overall. The mother, father, and Sonny all express their accounts to the older brother, making him the perfect character to tell the story. In addition, the first person point of view allows the reader to experience the vicarious feelings that the brother has to face. Furthermore, the point of view is selective omniscient, which gives the brother information on the present, past, and future permitting the reader to more easily understands the plot. Through the multiple accounts told to the brother, his first person point of view, and selective omniscient, James Baldwin demonstrates how point of view can give the reader a more define and clearer understanding of the story’s overall meaning.

The mother, father, and Sonny all share their accounts and stories of their lives through the older brother. This makes the older brother perfect for giving the best scenarios of each event because he is the one who knows the most about his family. The brother is the only person besides his mother to know about the tragedy that happened between his father and his uncle. The mother speaks to the older brother about his uncle because she wants him to keep watch over Sonny. “I ain’t telling you all this, to make you scared or bitter or to make you hate nobody. I’m telling you this because you got a brother.” (Baldwin 51) Because of the conversation, the brother feels even more responsible for Sonny’s action and future. The brother has to play the role of a father and provides support and...
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