The Human Struggle In Sonny's Blues By James Baldwin

2053 Words 9 Pages
In writing “Sonny’s Blues”, James Baldwin captured the essence of the struggle an individual endures in the attempt to simply be an individual. And at the same time encompassing what it means to be someone that belongs as part of a larger group, whether that be a family unit, a member of society or the whole of humanity. There are certain things that all people struggle to achieve, and the characters within this story make that evident. The most readily connected to character is the unnamed narrator. The first-person point of view helps to draw readers into the story and allows them to create a link between themselves and the narrator’s character. The narrator is very much a picture of the average person’s own self and his movement throughout the story parallels the lone souls change throughout their own life, indeed the narrator is an excellent example of normality in the human condition. And then Sonny is a good counter for the narrator and helps to bring him and the story to maturity. While the overall plight of Sonny …show more content…
This particular dynamic is more evident in the life of the narrator than with anyone else. He loves his brother but draws away from him because he doesn’t know how to navigate their relationship once Sonny turns to his friends and drugs. This can also be seen in the first few pages of the story during the narrator’s discussion with the kid that shows up at the school. Considering that conversation, Keith Byerman wrote the following in his article on “Sonny’s Blues”, “The narrator is offered knowledge, but he chooses to interpret the messenger rather than the message. He expresses a desire to know, and remorse when he does not listen, but he also repeats his unwillingness to understand.” (Byerman 2). After his brother is incarcerated for drugs, it takes a severe personal loss in his own life for him to look intently on his feelings and his brother’s

Related Documents