Symbolism In Sonny's Blues

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Pages: 3

Sonny’s Blues

In the short story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, Mr. Baldwin greatly interprets the lifestyle that the Harlem community has been recycling for years. Mr. Baldwin uses metaphors to explain the symbolism of jazz during the late 1940s in Harlem. The narrator, Sonny’s brother has a change of character from the beginning of the story to the end as he finally appreciates the importance of music through a different perspective. The narrator understands the significance of Jazz and how it can make a city with so much darkness into a shining ray of sun with the beat of Jazz. From the very beginning of the short story the author uses metaphors to depict to the fear and discomfort that Sonny was feeling at the time. “He became real
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“They were filled with rage. All they really knew were two darkness’s the darkness of their lives which was now closing in on them and the darkness of the movies which had blinded them to that other darkness and in which they now vindictively dreamed” (Baldwin 94). The darkness is something that children in Harlem are born around and can’t get rid of because it is embedded in their environment and also the lifestyle they are introduced to. In Sonny’s case playing Jazz on his piano was the only type of light to the darkness that he was fermented with. “The silence of the next few days must have been louder that the sound of all the music ever played since time began” (Baldwin 107). During that time there wasn’t much for a young man to do in order to prosper, as Sonny’s dad referred to the musicians as “good time people.” Yet the father and the narrator are very narrow minded and don’t interpret music the same way that Sonny and other civilians do that have faced major life problems. Most of the music itself is an illusion as the music is very religious asking for help in order to prosper and have a better lifestyle. The Harlem community, regardless of the circumstances and the life problems that they face, they still find a light in Jazz; it’s their escape from the darkness. The music in a sense is their form of praying to no loose hope for a better