Sonny's Blues

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The Power of Music in Sonny’s Blues
Sonny’s blues by James Baldwin is a story about the power of music and its effect on people and their very states of mind. Sonny will grow up and mature as a normal kid, but will then come to depend on his family and friends for guidance on his journey to become a musician in his own inner struggle brought upon him by his drug use. On his path he will discover that what he really wants is to be a jazz musician with the approval of his older brother.

In Sonny's Blues, the narrator is self-reflecting his experiences with various family members such as his mother and his younger brother, Sonny. Sonny and the narrator are brothers with a 7 year difference between them. The narrator was disappointed with Sonny at first due to his interest in becoming a musician. He thought it was a phase he was Sonny was going through and maybe it would pass. The older brother patronized Sonny with his insincere interest in music at first until it angered Sonny and he told his brother "don't do me no favors." The two young, African-American men conduct their own, individual mechanisms in order to cope with feeling like outsiders in the violent, ghetto neighborhood.  The narrator had a judge mental, stereotype, predetermined way of thinking when it came to his past. The narrator's thoughts and feelings were cruel and hard for the drug addict childhood friend of Sonny's when he told him he did not want to hear his "sad story.” Yet, he realized they both have something in common. The narrator has Sonny's drug addiction and the friend has his own addiction to deal with. The narrator realized that everyone has a sad story.   Just as Sonny felt alone and helpless, he could not talk about it to anyone. At the end, the narrator and Sonny were able to come to a mutual understanding of each other by the sound of Jazz music.  After listening to his music, the narrator was able to change his attitude about life, himself, and most of all, Sonny's choice....
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