Sonny's Blues, James Baldwin

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Encompassing Music Through the Soul (J.C)
In "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin, the theme is based on the evolution of two suppressed brothers. The story is written in 1957 and shows how two black brothers struggle to be brothers or understand one another. The narrator is the older brother, and an accomplished algebra teacher. The younger brother is Sonny, a heroin user who dreams of becoming a famous jazz pianist. The story contains many flashbacks, into their childhood, adding to the visualization. The tragedies and constant suffering can be easily visualized in this short story. Music becomes the incentive for change, and the narrator quickly learns to not only understand the music and himself, but also his brother Sonny. The story opens with the surprise of the narrator reading in the local newspaper that his brother, Sonny, had been arrested for peddling heroin; this is the beginning point of the growth and development between the two brothers. The discovery of the arrest forces the narrator to face the past and his relationship with Sonny. The narrator is approached at school by an old friend of Sonny, who has come to bring him the news about his brother. The discussion between them is heated and like two bulls clashing. The heat continues to grow and Sonny’s friend says, “I ain't smart. If I was smart, I'd have reached for a pistol a long time ago" (594 ). The narrator coldly replies, “Look. Don't tell me your sad story. If it was up to me, I'd give you one” (594). As they continue to talk, the narrator begins to actually hear him and feels guilty for not listening to him before. This is the first time the narrator shows signs of guilt. The friend then begins \to explain how he told Sonny about the effects of heroin and how great it feels. The tone of the narrator has now lost the hostility, changing into a caring tone. The narrator pretends to not care, but continues to ask questions, “What’s going to happen to him now?” (595) During this...
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