Sonny's Blues Literary Analysis Essay

Words: 950
Pages: 4

Sonny’s Blues –
A Journey Inwards to Self-actualization Despite of Unfavorable Circumstances

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. Stephen Covey, note speaker, author. How can one change his fate of being born into an economically deprived family, living a life encircled by poverty, hardship, social inequality and disadvantage? Sonny’s Blues, a short story by James Baldwin, illustrates the impacts of economic poverty on one’s life, and pointing out those who have will, can free themselves from economic difficulties to obtain self-actualization and satisfaction.
Sonny, the main character of the story, is an African-American boy with a “bright and open” face, “wonderfully direct brown eyes, and great gentleness and privacy” (p.30). He grows up in Harlem,
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Financial difficulties stop Sonny from staying away from Harlem, from drug. Sonny has no choice but to “fixed up” at his sister-in-law’s house even though they all know that “the setup is far from perfect” (46). And the worst thing comes - Sonny runs deeper into drug addiction. The bright and smart Sonny has courage and will to pursuit his dream as a jazz artist, but does not have enough strength to stay away from drugs. Financially broke and addicted, Sonny the artist puts himself into drug peddling business and ends up in jail. He is “killing” himself going down that dark road.
As indicated by Osterling, Kathy Lemon, on their research paper “One Social Capital and Neighborhood Poverty: Toward an Ecologically-Grounded Model of Neighborhood Effects.” Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment. 2007, Vol. 16 Issue 1/2, p123-147. 25p. DOI: 10.1300/J137v16n01-09. “…Concentrated neighborhood poverty has numerous detrimental effects on the health and well-being of individuals, families, and