Critical Analysis Of Sonny's Blues

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A Look at James Baldwin's “Sonny's Blues” Michael Clark, in a critical analysis essay he wrote on James Baldwin's “Sonny's Blues”, examines the ways in which Baldwin uses images of light and darkness to tell the story of two brother's. Thus, being Sonny and his elder brother. Clark points out in his essay that Sonny finds his life a living hell, yet he knows enough to try and strive for better, for that saving light. He also believes that Sonny sees music as something positive and by not mastering music will result in a downfall in his life. Not only does Clark express his point of view on Sonny and his older brother, he also has the idea that the brothers' father, mother, uncle, and the elder brother's daughter Gracie each represented…show more content…
Clark believes that sorrow is turned into pure emotion and Sonny's music becomes an expression of history (31). The most obvious part of that statement is that Sonny does turn his music into his emotions. This is how his music seems so real to his brother. As his brother pointed out, while he sat and listened to Sonny at the club, he made it his own. As Sonny took control the other musicians gathered around him and they seemed to be encouraging him on, saying amen every now and then, as if he were speaking some words they desperately believed in. In “Sonny's Blues” while the title character is playing, the narrator says that his brother's “fingers filled the air with life, his life” (Baldwin 183). Then he goes on to say something that something that has great significance. He says that within his life there is so many others. Sonny is not only playing for himself. He is also playing for his mother, his brother, and everyone else that is enduring a struggle or hardship. The narrator mentions seeing his mother's face, and speaks of stones on the road she must have walked on that bruised her feet. Then he sees another road, that is moonlit, where his father's brother died. Last there are the tears felt from his wife Isabel, crying from the death of his daughter Gracie. All of these characters represent something greater than themselves. The father, mother, and uncle each represent the older generations of the African American race. The folks who have been been beaten, scorned, and killed for only one reason: being black. The road that he saw his mother walking on is the same road all blacks in her generation had to walk upon. Working in the hot cotton fields, then after a long day of work, walking back along those roads with inadequate shoes bruising their feet only to arrive home to

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