Lost But Never Forgotten Essay

Submitted By jbear_cowgirl
Words: 1854
Pages: 8

Claire Zeuschel
February 20, 2015
English 102
Mr. Dornton

Lost but Never Forgotten

In the story Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin, the reader gets to experience a life that those who are living it may wish was just a dream. Growing up in the projects, two men, Sonny and his older brother, fight through a battle that is nearly impossible to win. They suffer a great deal of pain and loss and live through events that would likely kill your average human being. For some who grew up like these brothers did, the day they are born their chances for strong, successful lives are short lived due to the hands they are dealt. But because of the love two brothers can share, Sonny and his brother are given a chance to fight back and potentially win the battle that so many fail to overcome. Throughout the story, there exists the theme of both long term suffering and extreme loss on the part of every character. The narrator, Sonny’s older brother, experiences this more heavily than others. He is older and has been through the hard life that is commonly found inside of inner cities. He's dealt with these difficulties longer than Sonny and all the weight was placed on his shoulders when his mother tells him to keep an eye on his little brother. He states, “ain't nothing going to happen to you or Sonny. Sonny's all right. He's a good boy and he's got good sense.” (Pg. 345) The narrator has his own life to live and the pressure of caring and watching over Sonny was merely shrugged off. When he left for the military, his little brother's life was just a thought in the back of his head, until his mother dies and he is called home for her funeral. At this point, he really hadn't thought about Sonny too much, but now it’s up to him to find him a place to stay. This part in the story is the first time the brothers talk about Sonny and his future. Sunny mentions that he wants to go into the Navy, but that is the last thing the narrator wants for him. Sonny is sent to live with his brother's wife's parents’ house, where he hones in on his love for music when he discovers a grand piano in the house. Leaving Sonny to fend for himself once again, the brother is deployed once again and Sonny is pushed to the back of his mind. Months go by and Sonny's obsession with music begins to affect him academically. A breaking point is reached and Isabel, the narrator’s wife, and her parents confront Sonny about his school absences and accuse him of doing irresponsible things. This pushes Sonny to pack up his things and leave for the Navy. No one hears from Sonny for many months and, for a long while, he was thought to be dead. Finally a post card is sent from Greece and the narrator states, “He went as far the navy would carry him.” (Pg. 351) Still, the brothers did not see each other for many months, even after the war was long over. By this time, the narrator no longer sees his little brother as just his little brother, but he is now forced to see him as a man that he has become. From time to time Sonny, would stop by his brother's house, though the end result was always the same. They fought and bickered, pushing Sonny further and further away from his family and from himself. For the narrator, the guilt and loss begins to build and all he can do is sit around and watch his brother throw his life down the drain. The narrator suffers a great deal during this time in the short story. Sonny may be thought of as the character who suffered the most throughout this story, but his suffering not only hurts himself, it also caused great suffering for the people around him. Sonny's love for music could have saved him, but his small slip up in school gave him an excuse to run from his troubles. Once he returned home, the problems came flooding back into his life so fast that he was never able to have a fresh start at life. He didn’t have much to come back to that was good. Both his parents were dead and his brother was never pleased with how he lived his life. Like