Sonny's Blues - Baldwin Personal Reflection

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“Sonny’s Blues” is an emotional story written by an amazing author, James Baldwin, who has come to be one of my favorite writers. This particular piece talks about the troubles of African American freeing themselves from the mental bondages of their surroundings, the ghetto. The title is significant, and helped me to understand the underlining meaning of the story. The title can be divided into two main reasons, the first, “Sonny’s Blues, meaning the music he plays. Second is the reference to his life, his feelings, his style, and most importantly his way of life. This story starts in despair, the main character, Sonny is a drug addict, who is holding on to life, but through music he finds hope. There are many parts of this story, such as Sonny being a recovering heroin addict, or Sonny and his love for music, or the fact that Sonny and his dad are just alike. It was difficult for me to understand the main reasons for this story after reading it once, because I automatically thought this was another one of those sad short stories about someone crying out for help. After reading the story again, and writing my final essay on it, it helped me to understand that Baldwin’s main reason is hope. Although Sonny being a heroin addict was only a secondary point, it still played a very important role in the story. As I was reading “Sonny’s Blues” I would unintentionally relate parts of the story to things that happened in my life. For example, When Sonny is released from prison, the narrator (Sonny’s brother) says, “Yet, when he smiled, when we shook hands, the baby brother I’d never known looked out from the depths of his private life, like an animal waiting to be coaxed into the light.”(Baldwin). The narrator is pointing out that his brother he never actually is out of jail. While Sonny was in prison, he was trapped, and now that he is physically free, his brother questions whether he is free from the drug addiction and the feeling of sorrow. This moment in the...
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