Figurative Language In Sonny's Blues

1033 Words 5 Pages
In “Sonny’s Blues”, a major theme is an understanding of each other's feelings and actions is necessary for the brotherly love they reach in the end after everything they had been through. Drugs is a major focus and challenge they struggle to overcome. James Baldwin uses many forms of figurative language. One of the examples of figurative language is imagery. Baldwin uses imagery to portray a message to the audience, going in depth about certain details. Another example of figurative language is symbolism. Finally, allusions, a brief and indirect reference to a person, place, thing or idea of historical, cultural, literary or political significance. Overall Sonny and his brother become united in the end with a realization that the distance …show more content…
The title for example, is a symbol for the whole story describing all the struggles as blues. Other items symbolize things tying back to the story, such as the jazz music. The jazz music is taken differently to specific characters. The narrator knows nothing about jazz, and views it as a certain group of people. He blames the jazz world for his brothers’ upcoming problems. Although jazz music for Sonny, is the light at the end of the tunnel, and is his escape from the world. His passion is his piano. And how he makes people feel while he is playing. “Now these are Sonny’s blues. He mad the little black man on the drums know it and the bright, brown man on the horn” (148 Baldwin). It is one of the high notes in Sonny’s life. The people Sonny spends time with, his brother doesn’t necessarily approve of, but they act as a second family to Sonny because they are always there for him when he is in that escape he created for himself. Sonny's self-destructive personality, shown by the use of drugs, represent the generation of young black men during this time. In the end, jazz music functions as a bridge between the two brothers, for Sonny it is his piano. Bringing them together on each other’s views and ideas of life, the thought of brotherly love kept them so close even when they didn’t know it. Hearing Sonny play makes the narrator appreciate the making of music. With a more serious note, the …show more content…
The author uses a biblical allusion at the end the story, “For me, then, as they began to play again, it glowed and shook above my brother’s head like the very cup of trembling”. (Baldwin 148). At the end of the story, the narrator tells the reader that there is a glass sitting on Sonny’s piano, and it is shaking “like the very cup of trembling” to highlight how difficult or complicated the position Sonny is in. This image is told to us from the Bible, where the cup of trembling is symbolized, describing suffering and fear that people in this time were going through without knowing it. The biblical text guarantees a relief from the suffering, but Baldwin’s use for the cup of trembling as a symbol is not as clear or easy to understand. The biblical allusion comes from when God tells the Israelites that he knows they were suffering, and his anger, which they were so afraid of and of their enemies. God makes a promise to them that they won’t have to drink from this cup of trembling or experience his wrath and that this cup will be in the hands of their enemies. With this biblical connection at the end, it is showing that Sonny has hope for his drug addiction and his struggles as it also symbolizes to the audience that after the suffering that all of the characters have gone threw, peace is a hope and guarantee for them to look forward to. Sonny hopes to look for that peace and happiness with a connection back to his

Related Documents