Internal Conflict In Sonny's Blues, By James Baldwin

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The short story, “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin focuses on the unnamed narrator, a Algebra teacher in Harlem reuniting with his drug addicted brother, who was recently released from prison and able to come back home to their childhood neighborhood. As they catch up from the year that past, tension between them starts to occur when they both to attempt to deal with anger toward each other. The story puts emphasis on major themes of suffering, racism, a recurrent theme that Baldwin writes about in his other works, as well as the minor tragic event of Baldwin’s daughter. Though the main conflict is between their ideals that separate them, the narrator and Sonny both have their own internal conflicts to deal with. Baldwin goes through issues …show more content…
God’s grace play an important factor in how the characters react to their problem.
The word ‘Grace’ is an important symbol in the story and relates to the characters in different ways. The explicator article points out that the word, ‘Grace’, is utilized as the name of the narrator’s daughter and the biblical sense for the extension of mercy, even when that mercy is unearned (Stone). In the story, Grace is dying from polio. In contrast the grace of God are the gifts and favor that he presents us and enjoy freely in life. A troubling argument would be whether a person can ‘resist’ grace from God. It is mentioned that: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Roman 5:8-9). The Explicator argues,
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“A great block of ice got settled in my belly and kept melting there slowly all day long,… Sometimes it hardened and seemed to expand until I felt my guts were going to come spilling out or that I was going to choke or scream” (12). The narrator’s problems are always bottled up and kept away from everyone else but he cannot escape the feeling. This leads to problems when dealing with Sonny. The narrator has also fallen from grace in the story. His mother tells him, “you got to hold onto your brother and don’t let him fall, o matter what it looks like is happening to him and no matter how evil you gets to him” (133). He had promised to protect Sonny and keep him going in the right path. He makes this promise hard to keep when he selfishly disapproves of Sonny’s dream to become a musician.Reilly noted that the possibility of Sonny 's being a jazz rather than a classical musician had "seemed—beneath him, somehow” (Reilly). The Narrator unintentionally ruins his relationship with his brother. The lack of understanding of his generation entices him to pretty much gives up on Sonny up until his daughter’s death. The grace returns when he finally comes to see how talented Sonny is when playing the piano. This resolution is considered a redemption for the

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