Sonny's Blues


Response on Sonny's Blue

"Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin is a short story about the past and present life of two brothers. Pain and sorrow is part of their life, and the world surrounding them is viewed very differently by the two brothers. Sonny and his brother learn to deal with their pain, suffering and desire for primacy from Harlem in different avenues. Sonny's brother is wishful of living a life outside his teaching career and has the desire to live life as sonny does, careless and inattentive. Sonny lives life with avoidance and carelessness, he chalks up heroin to escape the caves of life in Harlem. The narrator tells many stories from their childhood to the time they are grown up with the death of their parents how they separated which explains why they are distinct. Sonny and his brother are both in deep search for breakout from filth and bareness of Harlem, in their own ways both characters want to retrieve some of their past to cope with what has happened in their lives and to find a way to go on.
The two characters are described in the story when riding away in the cab taking sonny home, "?, it came to me that what we both were seeking through our separate cab windows was that part of ourselves which had been left behind". They both are desperate to find faded memories that are left behind of their childhood before the pain and misery came to their life. Once for a short while they were happy before the death of their parents, little Gracie, and use of drugs. Harlem is not what it use to be to Sonny and his brother, now they can only see through make believe, and prejudiced view of their eyes. It seems both brother want's to get as far as possible from Harlem but the more they try the harder it is getting.
To escape the darkness of Harlem sonny got involved in using drugs, he was able to fill the loneliness and lack of support for his music from his brother with the use of drugs. His brother neglected him when sonny needed him the most, after their mothers death sonny had no decision making authority to what he was going to do with his life. By forcing Sonny to stay with Isabel's family, he was forced to withdraw and create a world in which he only existed with his music and no others. He devoted much of his time to playing the piano, and paid little attention to schooling as his brother had wished him to pursue.
Sonny' brother was unhappy of his teaching career, he thought of the students he thought as unworthy of his teachings. He felt a lack of respect and attention from them, in a passage he says "?, be popping off needles every time they went to the head. May be it did more for them than algebra could". He needs to escape Harlem and all those children that he dratted,, every time he looked at them they reminded him of sonny and there he may even feel responsible for them.
When playing in the club, the narrator gives a vivid explanation of how musicians use their music to clean their souls, just as some people talk about their problems. This was especially true with sonny, he never had pears to consult his problems with, and the only time he wanted support for his music it had always been negative. After al lot of struggles he finally had found a way to communicate with others through his music.
The Blues in the story is used in a more emotional manner which recollects the past, it also repairs the hard broken relationship between the two brothers who have chosen two different paths in hard environment. The music also plays a device of communication between the two brothers. When the brother is at the club listening to the blues he recalls his mother, the moonlit road on which his uncle died, and his wife's tears and he responds deeply to the music and is able to find himself thorough his own suffering.
At the end of the story they seem to find a common bond through sonny's music. Through the music of Sonny all the pain they had felt like the