Essay on Analysis Of Sonny 's Blues By James Baldwin

1683 Words Jun 9th, 2015 7 Pages
Cues can often signal the approach of something important in literature. On certain occasions, the cues may be obvious, but more often than not they only truly manifest once the reader gains a full understanding of the text. “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin is a dynamic short story that encompasses both the lifestyle of the African American community within the time period and the development of jazz music as a form of self-expression. Despite having two dynamic main characters the plot moves forward with fluidity. This is mostly due to Baldwin’s use of ongoing themes such as loss of innocence, suffering and self-discovery that manifest in both of the leading characters. In “Sonny’s Blues”, the author utilizes music to highlight these themes and develop the plot. The story opens to a schoolteacher discovering his brother has been arrested for selling and using heroin. This discovery causes him to look at his students through different eyes. He sees both himself and his brother in the boys and this realization discourages him. While observing, the narrator notices “one boy was whistling a tune, at once very complicated and very simple, it seemed to be pouring out of him as though he were a bird, and it sounded very cool and moving through all that harsh, bright air” (104). Baldwin’s almost poetic description of this sound stands out in the text. It highlights the theme of a loss of innocence present in this text. The sound of the whistling is cool despite the fact that the…

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