the great discovery Essay examples

Submitted By pineapple37
Words: 991
Pages: 4

Michael Proctor
Honors English Pd 8
16 March 2014 In “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin the theme individualism is built using plot, characterization, and a jazz motif. Richard N. Albert shares his opinion of Sonny throughout “The Jazz-Blues Motif in James Baldwin’s ‘Sonny’s Blues’” where he starts as a lost drug addict who finds himself through music and family. The road Sonny goes down with heroin is symbolism depicting his unguided life but as the narrator, his brother becomes more and more of his life he is redirecting in the right direction of becoming the same individual the speaker grew up with. Every part of “Sonny’s Blues” is important to the overall theme yet it is the plot which is continuously referred to and reminded to Sonny in times of doubt. And that is the idea that change is inevitable and not always a bad thing acts as guidelines to Sonny growing up. At the beginning of the critical article, Albert directly splits the two brothers, one with the “desire to assimilate and lead a “respectable” safe life as a high-school teacher” and the other lost while dwindling in sorrow and drugs (178-89). The most important part of the plot is Sonny’s rough start in life and how he decides to overcome that. Showing the ups and downs of his life are essential to the outcome of the story. At the very beginning of the story, Baldwin has the narrator immediately referring to what he saw in the paper about his brother which was that “he had been picked up…in a raid…for peddling and using heroin” (180). Even knowing that Sonny chose his own path which was not to assimilate the speaker still was almost in tears the entire day feeling cold like ice with the new memory of his own little brother sitting in a jail cell. The differences and paths the two brothers took play a huge role in the plot of the story which leads to Sonny overcoming his dark shadows of his past and becoming the musician he himself and his brother knew in their youth. Even though both the narrator and Sonny are both characterized right off the bat in both pieces of work it is the development of Sonny’s individual character which leads to him finding and inner acceptance towards the end of the story. In the critical article there is a specific scene reflected from the story which is when “Sonny begins to play his blues in the last scene, he struggles with the music, which is indicative of how he struggles with his life” (181). At this point in the story Sonny has finally returned to his true love in life which is music yet still finds he is struggling which represents nothing other than his rough diversion of lifestyles with his brother and the domino that fell on his life after that. As Sonny feels the pressure mounting he is reminded by Creole to look into his roots or in other words his family. As the kids were growing up with their mother she said to the narrator “’you may not be able to stop nothing from happening. But you got to let him know you’s there’” (192). This was said to Sonny’s brother yet it had more impact on Sonny because he realized on stage that moment his brother was there for him, his mother, and his beloved music. Characterization of Sonny throughout the scene at the end allowed him to vision himself in a different light, not the dimmed and dark street corner lights filled with heroin but the family he grew up with that have always supported him. It is not until the end of the story in which Sonny actually reveals his musical ability which allows you to understand it is not just his