Sonny's Blues

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Regina McCrae
Cynthia Pengilly
ENG 1102
23 April 2013
“ Sonny‘s Blues”

“Sonny’s Blues” is set in post-World War II New York, in the midst of an important cultural and political revolution that permanently changed the country. Artists from all over the world had made New York a new cultural capital, establishing Greenwich Village, where Sonny briefly lives. A diverse array of artists , including the painter Jackson Pollack, musician Charlie Parker, and writer Jack Kerouac, all converged in New York around this time. These artists learned and borrowed from one another. In “Sonny Blue’s,” Sonny wants to move past the traditional conventions of music, as did many postwar artists. At the same time that the art scene in New York was exploding, thousands of African American soldiers were returning home from the war and heading north toward communities like Harlem, where, instead of finding new job opportunities and equal rights, they found newly constructed housing projects and vast urban slums. Sonny and his brother both serve in the war, and each returns to find a radically different life in America.

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 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”.

One literary criticisms that come into play is the characters in the book” Sonny ‘s Blues” seems to be physically and emotionally imprisoned. All over the story, the narrator of the book and Sonny seems to be undergoing a great struggle to overcome constant barriers that have...
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