Sonny older brother is a school teacher and did not want to believe that the news was true, “l didn’t want to believe that I’d ever see my brother going down, coming to nothing, all that light in his face gone out, in the condition I’d already seen so any others” (Baldwin 293). Sonny used his music and drugs to distance himself from all the negativity in his life. Sonny dreams of becoming a musician but he finds himself trapped in a drug infested environment, which just about destroys him. Sonny used the drugs to temporarily tame and overcome his pain and problems. Sonny grew up in Harlem where he was exposed to but negativity.
Drugs, alcohol, poverty, and crime were all negative influences on Sonny as a child. After the death of his parents, Sonny’s older brother was there to look after him. His brother tried to be an example in life o Sonny, but he could not find a way to understand Sonny beliefs. Soon after the death of their parents, Sonny’s brother joined the army. Sonny was forced to stay with people whom were strangers to him. Sonny used his love for music in order to get away from the discontent. Sonny found a way to focus on the negative energy in his life and use it to create his music.
Through his music, Sonny exposed his deepest and most personal feelings. The music was so powerful and stirring because Sonny incorporated his life experiences into what he played. The music allows Sonny and his brother to deal with heir pain and suffering. Sonny expressed his suffering through his music. Sonny’s brother is awakened by the music and can finally see Sonny’s situation. The image that the music portrays plays a role in the balance between the two brothers and expresses the contradiction of little understanding and the love they have for each other.
James Baldwin “Sonny’s Blues” conveys a powerful message of salvation by embracing the hardships and contradictions in life. “Sonny Blues” illustrates the way music was used to escape from the negativity in life. The story begins when Sonny is arrested for heroin use. Sonny used the drugs as a source of power to distance homerooms the unhappiness in his life. Author Sandy Norton states, “Heroin keeps things from fragmenting in the face of unbearable pain, as does art. ” Sonny used heroin to overcome his problems and pain. The drug infested environment where Sonny lived came close to destroying him.
His use of heroin allowed him to temporarily tame his suffering. Sonny’s interest in drugs became larger as time went on. Sonny felt as if the drugs improved his ability to perform, which indicated his addiction. Son NYSE older brother was a school teacher and id not want to believe that the arrest was true. Sonny’s brother wrote, “l didn’t want to believe that I’d ever see my brother going down, coming to many others. Yes it had happened and here was, talking about algebra to a lot of boys who might, every one of them for all I knew, be popping off needles every time they went to the head.
Maybe it did more for them than algebra could” (Baldwin 293). Sonny’s brother did not understand him or his love for music. Sonny loved Jazz because it made him feel as if he had something to offer to others. Sonny used his music as a getaway and in doing o, he shared his suffering and pain within the music. The feeling Sonny experienced when playing Jazz allowed him to move forward in life. The music gave him the power to overcome his problems and pain. Sonny music provided a way for him to turn these times of struggle into something beneficial. Sonny overcame his battles through his own talent.
The difficulties that Sonny overcame molded him into the jazz musician that he always dreamt of being. Although Sonny addiction to drugs and love for music seemed similar because he used both to escape reality, they were inevitably ore different. The empowerment Sonny got from drugs was nothing but an illusion, unlike the strength he gained from music. “Sonny’s Blues” illustrates the ability to stay sane through the power of music. Sonny father died when he was fifteen and sadly “He and Sonny hadn’t ever got on too well. And this was partly because Sonny was the apple of his father eye.
It was because he love Sonny so much and was frightened for him, that he was always fighting with him” (Baldwin 298). Sonny lost both his parents at a young age, which left him with his older brother as his only family. Sonny’s brother leaves for the army and “… Already decided that he’d have to move in with Isabel and her folks” (Baldwin 302). Sonny was not in favor of the arrangement but he really did not have much of a choice. Sonny’s brother cheered him up by saying, “They got a piano at Isabella. You can practice on it” (Baldwin 303). Sonny stayed with Isabel and her folks, who tolerated him out of respect for his brother.
Sonny’s loneliness caused him to seclude himself from everyone around him. Sonny used music to overcome the loneliness he felt. The music was how Sonny adapted to the new unfamiliar environment. Sonny played the piano every day until supper time. His brother says that “At first, Isabel would write me, saying how nice it was that Sonny was so serious about his music” (Baldwin 304), but “Isabel finally confessed that it wasn’t like living with a person at all, it was like living with sound” (Baldwin 304). Eventually Isabel was afflicted by Sonny living in her home.
Tension grew between Sonny and Isabella family to the point where Sonny felt as if “Even if their fingers had been a thousand times more gentle than human fingers ever are, he could hardly help feeling that they had tripped him naked and were spitting on that nakedness” (Baldwin 304). Sonny left Isabella home and “He went as far as the navy would carry him” (Baldwin 305). Sonny used his negative energy in a beneficial way. When Sonny’s brother received the post card Sonny sent he says, “He finally sent me a post card from some place in Greece and that was the first I knew that Sonny was still alive.
I didn’t see him any more until we were both back in New York and the war had long been over’ (Baldwin 305). “Sonny’s Blues” illustrates the power of music with the incorporation of life experiences. Sonny incorporated his life experiences into his music. Sonny’s ability to see the light while in the darkness portrays a significant message. His music gave him the strength to see the light through his struggling times in the darkness. In Sonny letter from prison he writes, “But I feel like a man who’s been trying to climb up out of some deep, real deep and funky hole and just saw the sun up there, outside. To to get outside” (Baldwin 296). Sonny is not blinded to the darkness, he can see it, but he can see the light as well. By incorporating his life experiences into his music, Sonny is able to move Onward in life. Sonny’s music portrayed a powerful messaged that could benefit other individuals during their times of struggle or pain. Through his music, Sonny was able to share the powerful stories of his past difficulties and how he overcame them. Salvation from the suffering was attained because Sonny chose to embrace the contradictions in life.
Sonny allowed music to save him. His music gave him the strength to overcome his struggles and to turn them into strengths. Sonny’s music is inspired by his life experiences and the pain he suffered. The music is purely “Sonny Blues. ” Sonny’s Blues” illustrates the resolution of a conflicting relationship from the powerful message within the music. After the death of their parents, Sonny’s brother tired to be something for Sonny to look up to. Sonny’s brother tried, but he could not understand Sonny s beliefs.
Instead of trying to support Sonny, Sonny’s brother does not see being a musician as a career and suggests to Sonny to start thinking about his future. Throughout the story Sonny and his brother were distant but his brother did not want to be. He loved Sonny, but the worlds conflicted. Author Sandy Norton writes, “The Tory of “Sonny’s Blues” is finally the story of the narrator’s struggle out of denial. He is, in fact, a man full of fear, trying to use his relatively privileged social position to protect himself from emotional reality.
Only when his young daughter dies of polio, for instance, does he begin to feel sympathy for his brother that his trouble made his brothers real. ” By the end of the story, Sonny’s brother begins to understand the music when he truly listened to it. The only way Sonny could show his brother the importance of his music and why he played was by having his brother listen. Sonny’s brother was moved y his performance. Author Robert Reid says, “The vision is realized via the music that embodies the shared suffering inherent in the vision. The musical conflict is finally resolved when the brother hears Sonny music. Sonny and his brother went to the nightclub, where his brother finally heard him play. When the brother heard Sonny’s music he says, “He made is his: that long line of which we knew only Mama and Daddy. And he was giving it back, as everything must be given back, so that, passing through death, it can live forever. I saw my mothers face again, and felt, for the first time, how the tones of the road she has walked on must have bruised her feet.
I saw the moonlit road where my fathers brother died. And it brought something else back to me, and carried me past it. I saw my little girl again and felt Isabella tears again. And I felt my own tears begin to rise. And I was yet aware that this was only a moment, that the world waited outside, as hungry as a tiger, and that trouble stretched above us, longer than the sky/’ (Baldwin 312). Sonny music brought to light the theme of suffering for the brother. Sonny music opened his brother’s eyes and he could see the darkness which envelopes the outside world.
The brother is able to see the suffering of his parents and his wife. The brother can finally truly understand his brother’s suffering and the outlet that the music provided for him all along. Through the power of his music, Sonny shows his brother that there is an escape from the darkness and that he has found a way out of the suffering. Sonny’s brother melts the ice that had been torturing him inside for so long when he says, “l seemed to hear with what burning he had made it his, with what burning we had yet to make it ours, how we could cease lamenting’ (Baldwin 12).
After hearing Sonny play, the bother melts under, “Everything had been burned out of it, and, at the same time, things usually hidden were being burned in, by the fire and fury of the battle which was occurring in him up there” (Baldwin 311 The brother is moved by the beautiful and powerful music that Sonny created, that Sonny has suffered and will suffer to create. The brother finally understood “Sonny’s Blues. ” James Baldwin “Sonny’s Blues” portrays the significant meaning within music that has the power to save the distant and conflicting relationship between two brothers.
Within Baldwin title “Sonny Blues” is the moving story of a boys life and how he overcame times of pain and suffering. The story begins with Sonny being arrested for heroin use. Sonny used his music and drugs as a way to escape from the negativity in his life. The music and drugs gave Sonny the power to distance himself and get away from the unhappiness in his life. Sonny addiction began when he felt as if the drugs improved his ability to perform. Sonny eventually realized that the empowerment from the drugs was only an illusion, unlike the strength in which he gained from music. Author Daniel E.
Walker states, “It is this prophesy of Sonny eventual downfall which elicits so many of the testimonials in the story. ” Sonny incorporated his life experiences and struggles into his music. Sonny music saved his life. Sonny’s music allowed him to see the light when he was trapped in darkness. Sonny turned his past difficulties into powerful stories within a song. His music provided him with the strength to overcome his struggles and move forward with life. Sonny used his life experiences, struggles, and times of suffering as inspiration for his music. Sonny embraced the contradictions in life to attain salvation.