Analysis Of Sonny 's Blues By James Baldwin Essay

1403 Words Nov 20th, 2015 null Page
In “Sonny’s Blues,” by James Baldwin, the narrator assumes responsibility of his brother, Sonny, after Sonny is released from jail for using heroine. While he attempts to integrate Sonny into his household, the narrator is overcome with his notion of masculinity, which is to “man up” by being patriarchal, assertive, and emotionless, driving him to be overprotective of Sonny. This ultimately leads the narrator to distance himself from Sonny, shifting his once fraternal relationship with him to that of a father and son. It is not until the narrator lets go of his assumed patriarchal status and starts focusing on who Sonny actually is, rather than what he should be, that the narrator begins to let of go of his personal perception of masculinity and accepts vulnerability.
The narrator’s assumed responsibility transforms his relationship with Sonny from fraternal to protective and patriarchal. This creates an awkward dynamic which distances the narrator from Sonny, ultimately creating a void of emotion their relationship. As soon as Sonny moves into the narrator’s home after his time in prison, the narrator’s over-analysis of his interactions with Sonny reveal their seemingly forced relationship: “Everything I did seemed awkward to me and everything I said sounded freighted with hidden meaning” (840). The narrator’s self consciousness while reflecting on the clarity of his words and actions around Sonny suggest an uneasiness in their relationship. It becomes clear that this…

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