Sonnys Blues by James Baldwin Essay

This essay has a total of 1389 words and 7 pages.

Sonnys Blues by James Baldwin



Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin


"Sonny's Blues", a story written by James Baldwin, takes place in Harlem, New

York in the 1960's. The authors' purpose wants the reader to realize the experiences that

the author experienced. The story is about the past and present lives of two brothers. It is

told in first person point of view by Sonny's brother (a teacher), whose name was never

mentioned. The teacher comes to terms with his African American roots, his brother, the

students, and at the Jazz Club. The narrator also specifically tells many stories from the

place they grew up, the death of their parents, and how they parted which explains a little

of why they didn't communicate so well. Through these stories lies, as to what I believe

the subject of the story.

It begins with the event of Sonny getting caught in a raid of using heroin. He was

placed in jail because of his drug addiction. The significance of this event triggers many

emotions and old memories for both brothers. The teacher was mortified to hear what

has been going down with Sonny. The teachers observation on the students that the

reason why they did drugs was to get away from anger and racism. The students mocked

each other because of rage. They also flip out because of frustration and society. He

now understands Sonny because of the observation of the students. A man came

across the teacher one night who happened to be a previous friend of Sonny's. He

wasn't too found of this man because of the type of person he was and what he was

involved with (drugs and alcohol). Before they got to the subway station they stopped

into this bar. The teacher was trying to cope with the guy so he can keep asking him

questions about Sonny and get information about his life. As they talk a barmaid was

brought to the teachers attention. She was a semi-whore, had a battered face, looked

doomed, and struggled. The music she was dancing to wasn't the teachers' type of music

so it didn't interest him too much. He was into bebop, Charlie Parker's music, which was

classical music. The bar was playing Jazz music, which was full of anger and

aggravation. Sonny's was into that type of music.

The teacher is married with children. His daughter Grace died of Polio and suffered.
Then after, the teacher wrote to Sonny while he was in jail. He felt bad that he hasn't
been keeping in touch with his brother and also because of the loss of his daughter he
started to reunite with him and get together with him. They have been writing continuous
to each other whenever they got a chance. The day came when they finally met up with each
other to reminisce the old neighborhood. They both took a ride out to Harlem where they
grew up. The moment Sonny and the teacher started into the house in Harlem, the teacher
had the feeling that he was basically bringing him back into the danger Sonny had almost
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