Family Symbols In Sonny's Blues By James Baldwin

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In “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, family importance shines as one of the most prominent symbols throughout the short story. Throughout the story the narrator implies that he only wants the best for his little brother, Sonny. The Narrator also explains that he feels the need to take responsibility of his younger brother, even though he describes Sonny as a sort of nuisance. In the short story the Narrator states, “I didn’t write Sonny or send him anything for a long time. When I finally did, it was just after my little girl died. He wrote me back a letter which made me feel like a bastard” (Baldwin 126). This quote explains that the Narrator both admits his brother’s and his separation, and his embarrassment for feeling as if he should have written Sonny earlier. This …show more content…
The Narrator also explains, “I’m glad Mama and Daddy died” (Baldwin 127). This quote one again explains the embarrassment the Narrator feels for drifting so far apart from his brother. The narrator knows deep down his parents would be ashamed of both him and Sonny for drifting apart after they died. In this short story, family can be defined as unconditional love for someone, but not condoning the actions that loved one makes.
Throughout this story we learn that family can operate on another level. The Narrator has created his own family with his wife, Isabel, and his children. Sonny has also created a family through his musicians. “Sonny’s Blues” illustrates that family is different for everyone because every family member has a different relationship with each other, and not all families are blood related. Throughout the short story the Narrator explains how he and sonny have drifted apart from each other. The narrator states, “I was remembering, and it made it hard to catch my breath, that I had been there when he was born; and I had heard the first words he had ever

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