Sonny's blues

Topics: Drug addiction, Jazz, Blues Pages: 3 (1173 words) Published: December 4, 2013

1 – What statement dos the story make about the relationship of art to life or about the relationship of art to suffering?

Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin is a short story written in 1957. It is a story about Sonny, and his relationship to music, his brother, the narrator and the society he is living in. This story takes place in Harlem, New York, which is known to be a major African-Americans residential and cultural place. It is also known for its poverty and place where drugs are frequently used and present. The narrator is Sonny’s older brother. He seems to succeed in life by joining the army, getting married, having three children until the lost of his younger child, Gracie who died of polio. Sonny is the lost brother and son of Harlem. He only lives for one thing and only, to be a musician, and he wants to play his piano and play the jazz. When the narrator and Sonny are finally getting along it seems like it is already too late to save Sonny from the bad habits of using drug. Sonny is a drug addict to heroin. His suffering life controlled by the addiction of heroin is also the life that permits him to live his music to the fullest. This paradox emphasizes the relationship of art to life and art to suffering. James Baldwin illustrates this theme using the blues music, which is a type of folk music developed in the 19th century by African-Americans in the south, often addressing suffering loss.

The art form is first presented in the story after the death of the mother of the two brothers. The narrator, after the funeral is trying to have a conversation with Sonny about his future. He asked him “ What do you want to do?” (Paragraph 105). Sonny answered and said; “ I’m going to be a musician.” This tells us that the art form presented in the story is about music. Art is a term that describes a diverse range of human activities such as painting, sculpture, music, and theatre… Sonny wants to play the piano, in a specific type of...
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