Sonny's Blues Narrative

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Sonny 's Blues written by James Baldwin is a short story about coping with the struggles of life. The Narrator, who Baldwin does not name, finds himself struggling with who his younger brother, Sonny, has become. Growing up as African Americans in Harlem the boys were exposed to hardships at an early age. As adults, the narrator is a successful school teacher and Sonny finds himself struggling with drug addiction and in prison. The Narrator finds it difficult to identify with Sonny who escapes reality by abusing drugs and losing himself in jazz music. Through jazz Sonny finds a way to release his pain and suffering and turn it into an art form. Tragedy strikes the Narrator again when his young daughter dies. This event prompts the Narrator to reach out to his brother. Flashbacks and current events allow for the Narrator to understand Sonny 's version of success looks different from his own idea of what success should look like. The central idea of " Sonny 's Blues" is learning to listen to the struggles of others can greatly impact one 's life. Baldwin uses the Narrator to demonstrate how hard it can be to accept the struggles of others. The Narrator has a difficult time when he learns of Sonny 's fate in the newspaper. When reading the newspaper he states ,"I read it, and I …show more content…
We learn through flashbacks that the Narrator was sheltered from traumatic events such as the death of his uncle by his mother and father. He has a loving relationship with his mother and honors her requests to watch over Sonny. By having a loving family who allowed him to be a child much longer than most, the Narrator is able to rise above the constraints society had placed on him. He is able to find success in education and have a loving family of his own. While he is able to find success and a more positive future, he is unable to understand why Sonny was not able to do the same.

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