Sonny's Blues Literary Analysis

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The Powers of Music: “Sonny’s Blues” In the short story, “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin the author depicts how a child growing up in a bad neighborhood, the loss of parents, and drug addiction to heroin can cause many harsh realities in one’s life. The main characters include the narrator, which is the unnamed older brother of Sonny, and Sonny whom has been in and out of trouble while battling addiction to heroin. However, in “Sonny’s Blues” the narrator demonstrates that music can be used as an effective way to cope with suffering. After the death of their mother the narrator is left responsible for his younger brother, Sonny; however, the only problem is that Sonny’s brother is currently enlisted in the Army thousands of miles away.…show more content…
That evening they went to a nightclub downtown where Sonny’s brother realizes that this is the place where Sonny has been spending his time. Everyone in the nightclub knew Sonny and was anxiously awaiting his arrival to hear Sonny play his music. “Here it was not even a question that his veins bore royal blood.” (98) Sonny initially could not find his way on the piano and made many mistakes as he stammered through the first set, but afterwards a man named Creole reminded them that they were playing the blues and gave them a lesson on what blues is all about. “For while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.” (100) Creole then seemed to be saying listen-listen to Sonny’s Blues. They all gathered around Sonny at this point and Sonny played. “Sonny’s fingers filled the air with life-his life.” (100) Sonny continued to play the story of his life not in a hurried fashion, but from one stage to the next and it was no longer lament. “Freedom lurked around us and I understood, at last, that he could help us to be free if we would listen, that he would never be free until we did.” (100) Sonny had made the song his and there was no battle
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