Sonny's Blues Theme

Words: 1043
Pages: 5

James Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues was published in 1957, but this story is one in which resonates for generations despite changing times. The story, of two brothers whose life choices have brought them together and pulled them apart over the years, is still applicable today. Sonny’s Blues begins with a narrator who reads shocking news of his brother in a newspaper on the subway on the way to work as an algebra teacher at a local school. The news of his brother being arrested for selling and using heroin is haunting. He read the story again and again trying to come to terms with the news he absorbed. The two had not been in contact for quite some time, and the narrator didn’t want to believe the news of his brother. Throughout the story, the …show more content…
It’s no surprise that music played a complex role in “Sonny’s Blues” from early on and Baldwin did an incredible job incorporating the theme throughout the story. Although Sonny was not a blues musician, the title “Sonny’s Blues” don’t represent his role as a musician, but rather the sorrows and sufferings he experienced from life experiences and his severe drug addiction.
The theme of music in “Sonny’s Blues” make the story relevant even now, in 2017 in the regard that even now, people everywhere experience natural suffering. Music today plays a tremendous role in the way people cope with their suffering. Consider for a moment a song you like and why you like it. Chances are, many songs you enjoy or even those you don’t, have some sort of sentimental element attached to them.
For me personally, Justin Bieber’s song “Purpose” resonated with me the first time I heard it. The song was released shortly after someone I know passed and thus carries sentimental remembrance of a life loved and
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He does so by painting Harlem, a neighborhood in New York as dark and plagued by terrible things such as drugs and violence. The same thing can be said about major metropolitan cities today like Chicago and even Detroit. The darkness of Harlem is what their parents faced and the same thing they face now in their adult years such as their estranged relationship, Sonny’s addiction, the death of the narrator’s daughter, and the murder of their uncle; life events that people everywhere also endure, making Baldwin’s work relevant even today.
Baldwin’s use of art and music throughout “Sonny’s Blues” signify something deeper. They introduce the reader to natural suffering that everyone experiences by highlighting suffering as a power that is humanizing and also offers us an opportunity for redemption just as it did for Sonny and his brother. Through experiences of suffering we are able to understand weaknesses, overcome our deepest fears and empathize with one another, ultimately creating stronger relationships with the people and communities around