Sonny's Blues

Topics: Drug addiction, English-language films, Addiction Pages: 3 (991 words) Published: November 29, 2005
ENGL 102
Module 3 Essay

Assessing Essay

"Sonny's Blues"

"Sonny's Blues" is a heartfelt story written by an incredible author, James Baldwin, who has long been one of my favorite writers. This piece, like many of his others, details the plight of African Americans freeing themselves from the mental bondages of their surroundings, the ghetto. This story tells us about two brothers, their individual flight from their repressed surroundings and their eventual unification as brothers through the powerful language and musical art knows as jazz.

The title of the story "Sonny's Blues" is an excellent use of symbolism. The term "blues" accurately depicts the bondage and plight of Sonny and his brother as Black men in a white society, it is used as a method of discussing Sonny's struggles with his addiction, and it personifying as the Sonny's aspirations of a jazz career.

Baldwin frequently writes in the first person, and this piece is no exception. The story is written from the prospective of the unnamed older brother who, through his educational experiences feel that he has fled the consequences of poverty. Although he continues to live in a public housing development, he has mentally surpassed what white society has expected for a Black man during this era. He has served in the military, married, has become educated, is a white collar worker - a teacher, and is raising children of his own . The brother wrestles with that fact that he, but not Sonny has succeeded to overcome the barriers of his poverty and states, "Some escaped the trap, most didn't. Those who got out always left something behind, as some animals amputate a leg and leave it in the trap. It might be sad, perhaps, that I had escaped, after all, I was a school teacher." This brother has made a promise to his mother to look after his younger brother and lives constantly with the guilt that he has not been able to accomplish the tasks of parenting and protecting his...
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