Sonny's Blues Analysis Essay

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“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin is a story about a struggling addict named Sonny. Sonny’s family was born and raised in the housing projects of Harlem, New York in the 1950’s during a time where heroin was booming and racism was still alive. As an African American man Sonny’s paths in life were limited. Like most of his African American community Sonny turned to music and drugs to numb the pain of life’s endless disappointments. According to an article by 12 Keys Rehabilitation, “Most psychological addiction begins with feelings that are out of control. Strong emotions like rage, jealousy, fear and hopelessness make some people feel helpless.” Throughout Baldwin’s short story, Sonny struggles with his own emotions, his relationships, …show more content…
During this loss and tremendous grief Sonny was left completely alone. His older brother was deployed in the army, his father already died, and all alone, Sonny lost his mother. Before she died, Sonny’s mother asked his older brother to promise her that he would looked after Sonny if anything ever happened to her. She said to him, “It ain’t a question of his being a good boy, nor his having good sense. It ain’t only the bad ones, nor yet the dumb ones that gets sucked under,” (Baldwin 83). One may suspect that Sonny’s mother knew what the streets of Harlem had offered her son, perhaps she had seen this before with her husband who may have been an alcoholic himself. Furthermore, addiction is not specific when choosing its victims. All are at risk and more so are the people who have family members that have been addicts. After their mother’s death, Sonny’s brother was responsible for him. In a resent filled conversation Sonny tells his brother, “don’t do any favors for me” (Baldwin 86). Throughout this conversation one can sense the feeling that Sonny is pushing his older brother away due to the start of his addiction. His older brother attempts to justify Sonny’s behavior considering that it is one of those things kids go though and that he should just leave Sonny alone. Like most families of addicts, Sonny’s brother was in denial. In addition to Sonny pushing his brother away, he lights a

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