Sonny's Blues

Topics: Black people, White people, Negro Pages: 2 (861 words) Published: February 16, 2011
Baldwin’s Blues
In Sonny’s Blues the and the autobiographical notes of James Baldwin found in the book show the racism of the time and how subtle it is and how it becomes a part of a person once it is introduced to them. In the auto biographical notes Baldwin says, “I was forced to admit something I had always hidden from myself, which the American Negro has had to hide from himself as the price of his public progress; that I hated and feared white people. This did not mean that I loved black people; on the contrary, I despised them, possibly because they failed to produce Rembrandt” (844). In this one statement it brings about a clarity and understanding and mentality that is found throughout Sonny’s Blues. For a lack of better word the autobiographical notes gives insight into the black condition that Sonny and his brother embody. The first person of importance is not Sonny or his brother , it is the man that the brother meets as he is leaving school and going to the subway station. This man gives the reader the insight as to what Sonny had been going through for so long. It does not seem that way but as you look a bit deeper into his mannerisms you see that he, himself is a drug addict just the same as Sonny was at that time. But for some reason you get this air that he felt that somehow he was better than Sonny. I guess that in some sense he was because he was not locked up in jail but I see this as the subtle but ever present racism popping up in the black community because of the “black condition”. This black condition is not a physical ailment (but it can bring about a physical ailment ie. Sonny and the narrators father being beaten up by drunk white men) but a psychological one that is brought about by racism. This leads me to Sonny’s drug problem. This part of his life is solely a because of his environment but it is also a part that is purely human. Baldwin’s and most black Americans desire is to be seen as a human and not just a black person....

Cited: Baldwin, James. “Sonny’s Blues.” The Story and Its Writer. Ed. Ann Charters. Compact 7th ed.
Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2007. 37-59. Print
Baldwin, James. “Notes of a Native Son (excerpt).” The Story and Its Writer. Ed. Ann
Charters. Compact 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2007. 841-845. Print
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