Essay about Analysis Of Sonny 's Blues By James Baldwin

1404 Words Nov 3rd, 2015 null Page
“Sonny’s Blues” is a short story written by African American novelist James Baldwin. The story was published in a magazine called the Partisan Review in 1957. The magazine was a leading journal of culture and politics in America at the time. James Baldwin was born in New York in 1924 and grew up in the city’s Harlem section which was “the center of black intellectual and cultural life in America” (Sonny’s Blues 252). Although the leading African American figures congregated in Harlem, there was still extreme poverty and deprivation there. Baldwin had a reputation as a “controversial critic of black culture.” (Baldwin, James 3). The central ideas in Baldwin’s work is that “individual sense of self-worth must accompany any social reform” (Baldwin, James 3).
In the early 1940’s a controversial form of jazz called “bebop” was developed. “Where jazz and swing were pleasant and sensual, bebop expressed dark and brooding emotions” (Sonny’s Blues 251). Unfortunately, many of the important innovators who lived in New York and played in Greenwich Village suffered from heroin addiction. Heroin was the most common drug in the jazz world and easy to find. The history of Harlem and Jazz is important to know when reading “Sonny’s Blues” because in the 1950’s jazzmen were thought of as beatniks and lowlifes. This is the reason the narrator in the story is so upset with his younger brother’s lifestyle.
Writing about his experiences growing up in Harlem is what produced Baldwin’s short…

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