Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin Essay
The reading of James Baldwin’s short story Sonny’s Blues leaves few doubts as to the fact that one of story’s foremost motifs is light vs. darkness. In its turn, this can be explained by the particulars of author’s biography as someone who was brought up in the religious family, sublimated in Baldwin’s strive to provide a symbolical meaning to story’s semantic content.
Apparently, the references to darkness in Sonny’s Blues are meant to symbolize the essence of Sonny’s drug addiction; whereas, the references to light are meant to prompt readers to think of Sonny’s story of reconciliation with his brother in terms of Christian ‘redemption’.
Nevertheless, there is also another aspect to Baldwin’s utilization of earlier mentioned motif – author’s realization of the sheer unnaturalness of African-Americans’ low social status through fifties and sixties. By making continuous references to this particular motif, author wanted to expose the actual reason why these people often end up being underachievers. In my paper, I will aim to explore the soundness of this thesis at length.
Baldwin’s utilization of light vs. darkness motif starts at the very beginning of the story: “I stared… in the swinging lights of the subway car… and in my own face, trapped in the darkness which roared outside” (1). By saying that, narrator reflects upon his own deep-seated anxieties of someone who was born and raised in the ‘ghetto’. Apparently, even though he was able to gain social prominence as a teacher, narrator never forgot its own humble origins.
This is exactly the reason why, while watching Harlem’s Black boys in the midst of socializing with each other, narrator never ceases being aware of the nature of intellectual oppression, they have to deal with on daily basis: “These boys, now, were living as we’d been living then… All they really knew were two darknesses, the darkness of their lives… and the darkness of the movies, which had blinded them to that other darkness” (Baldwin 1).
The context of this particular referral to darkness, on the part of narrator, reveals the nature of African-Americans’ oppression as such that is not only being concerned with these people suffering from poverty but also from the fact that American mainstream Medias of the time used to portray such state of affairs as perfectly natural.
Hence, the symbolic sounding of narrator’s following remark, in regards to Sonny friend’s physical appearance: “The bright sun deadened his damp dark brown skin and it made his eyes look yellow and showed up the dirt in his kinked hair” (Baldwin 2) – apparently, narrator wanted to emphasize once again that, while being exposed to the ‘light’ of America’s racialist mass-culture, African-Americans simply could not avoid being degraded.
Nevertheless, given Baldwin’s strong sense of religiosity, it does not come as a particular surprise that the majority of narrator’s referrals to light connote positiveness, as these referrals symbolize the process of African-Americans gaining self-confidence. For example, while elaborating on how he felt when struggling with his drug-addiction, Sonny states: “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” (Baldwin 5).
Yet, being rather a good psychologist, Baldwin was fully aware of the fact that the process of socially and racially underprivileged ghetto-residents striving to make the best out of their lives could never be too easy, as the very essence of racially secluded living in the ghetto predisposes people to succumb to depression: “Cab moved uptown through streets which seemed, with a rush, to darken with dark people” (Baldwin 7).
According to narrator, this is exactly the reason why it often proves impossible for ghetto-residents to attain social prominence through education – while trying to affiliate themselves with light, even the brightest kids from the ‘hood’ have no choice but to continue to exist in darkness, in allegorical sense of this word.
In its turn, this causes them to experience a certain cognitive dissonance – the harder they try to make the best of their lives; the more acute appear their inferiority-related anxieties: “When light fills the room, the child is filled with darkness. He knows that every time this happens he’s moved just a little closer to that darkness outside” (Baldwin 9).
Thus, there are clearly defined humanist undertones to Sonny’s Blues, as the story that provides readers with the insight on why, despite having a potential to become society’s outstanding members, many African-Americans nevertheless end up descending to society’s ‘rock bottom’.
As it was implied in the Introduction, in order for the readers to be able to fully understand Baldwin story’s message, they need to be aware of the significance of light vs. darkness motif, deployed throughout story’s entirety.
The reason for this simple – the understanding of this motif’s implications, on the part of readers, is being quite indispensible within the context of them gaining an insight onto the very root of African-Americans’ clearly unprivileged social status. I believe that this conclusion is being fully consistent with paper’s initial thesis.
Baldwin, James. Sonny’s Blues. PDFCAST.Org. 1957. Web.
Analysis of “Sonny’s Blue” Of James Baldwin Essay
“Sonny’s Blue” is a story about two brothers who see life in a different way but later find understanding in each other. Music brings this understanding. The story begins as the narrator is on his way to his teaching job when he finds out that is the younger brother is in jail (Baldwin 2). Sonny has been caught dealing drugs.
On his way home, the narrator meets sonny’s friend who tells him about the challenges of his brother’s drug addiction. However, the narrator does not make any attempt to help his brother. After some time, the narrator’s daughter, Grace dies. The pain and anguish of this ordeal inspire the narrator to communicate with his brother. Their communication continues until Sonny is released from jail.
The narrator then welcomes Sonny into his home. Though Sonny appreciates his help, he feels uncomfortable at his relative’s home and turns to music. It is an outlet where he expresses his feelings. We can learn from the Sonny’s Blue that music and art is a source of conflict and understanding. This paper examines how music and art affect the two brothers. It further discusses why music and art make the love between the siblings coherent.
How music and art affect the narrator and Sonny
Sonny’s passion for music is a source of disagreements. After their mother’s funeral, the two siblings discuss Sonny’s expectations. When the narrator asks Sonny what plans he has for the future, his answer dismays the narrator. Sonny tells his brother “I want to play with-jazz musicians” (Baldwin 12).
He tells his brother about his vision and dreams but the narrator dismisses these ideas. They argue about it for a while before they part ways. In another incidence, music causes conflict between Sonny and his sister-in –law’s mother. While living in their house, Sonny gets into a habit of missing School.
When he is confronted, he discloses that he was hanging out with the musicians in Greenwich Village. This revelation evokes a conflict between the two parties. Later, Sonny is sad because he recognizes that his dream is a burden to the people he loves (Baldwin 17). His passion for music causes them grief. Sonny enlists in the navy following this argument. After his return from the war, the two brothers argue again because of Sonny’s choices. Sonny becomes furious with his brother and shouts at him.
Despite the fact that music is a source of conflict, it brings understanding. While sonny is living with his brother, the narrator has an urge to search his room for signs of drugs or mischief. As he thinks about his actions, he witnesses a street revival and reflects on its importance.
In the evening, Sonny invites him to attend one of his music concerts. Sonny explains that in music, he finds an avenue to express his pain and release his fears and struggles. In the club, the narrator realizes that his brother has earned the respect of the people because of his passion for music. He is a common figure among the people. Throughout the night, the narrator watches his younger brother struggle while playing music.
He becomes part of their family through his music. He then understands that Sonny’s problems emanates through his music. The narrator realizes that his brother is giving back to the society. He says “And he was giving it back, as everything must be given back, so that, passing through death, it can live forever” (Baldwin 25). This incidence brings understanding. The narrator finally comprehends Sonny’s identity and personality. He is proud of sonny’s undertakings as a musician.
Why music and art make the love between the siblings coherent
The love between the narrator and sonny is coherent because the narrator believes that it is his responsibility to look after his brother. The narrator loves his brother, but he feels that, by becoming a musician, Sonny will fail. In one of the flashbacks in the story, the narrator recalls his mother asking him to watch out for sonny.
His mother reminds him that when his father was young, he witnessed his brother’s murder. He was knocked by a car, and the occupants of the car did not bother to check on him. His father never recovered from that the incidence and his mother did not want the same thing to happen to the narrator.
His mother’s words encourage him to be his brother’s keeper (Baldwin 9). As a result, the narrator feels compelled to ensure that his brother is safe. This obligation strengthens their relationship. However, the narrator still feels like music is not the best option for Sonny. The narrator wants only the best for his brother. The narrator has a loving family and a respectable career, and he wishes that his brother will find the same success in something else other than music.
Music makes the love among the siblings more coherently because of the narrator’s feelings towards musicians. The narrator believes musicians are lazy people in search of a way to escape the issues of life.
Furthermore, the narrator thinks that musicians are drug addicts who lead immoral lifestyles. He relates this lifestyle to his neighborhood. Both of them are brought up in Harlem where, they endure the same poverty and hopelessness that engulf their neighborhood (Baldwin 10). The narrator decides to be a teacher while sonny desires to be a musician.
When he finds out that his brother is arrested, he does not attempt to help him because he is torn between love and disgust, apprehension and distrust. He is frustrated because Sonny has no intentions of leaving the poverty in Harlem. Music represents a cage that keeps him locked up in Harlem. He fails to comprehend why Sonny still goes back to the same lifestyle. This assumption and fear make his relationship with his brother coherent. He dismisses his dreams of being a musician because he believes it is a poor choice.
Music and art affect the relationship between the narrator and Sonny in many ways. They fight because of music, but in the end, they understand each other because of the same. The narrator does not appreciate the lifestyle of musicians. He believes they are lazy people without a vision. For that reason, he disapproves Sonny’s decisions.
He associates music with poverty and does not comprehend how musicians can become successful. The narrator loves his brother, but he is frustrated with his choices. He wants his brother to rise above poverty and hopelessness. He feels a sense of obligation towards him and desires the best for him. Music is a source of conflict as well as understanding of this story.
Baldwin, James. Sonny’s Blues. Stuttgart: Klett Ernst /Schulbuch, 2009. Scribd Net Library. Web.
“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin Essay
The Narrator’s Epiphany
The narrator in “Sonny’s Blues” is aware of social problems expressed in his brother’s music. The narrator, Sonny’s brother, realizes that music helps Sonny overcome his inner pain and suffering. For a long time, he has been detached from Sonny because they had different perspectives on life. Once they went to a night club where Sonny was offered a chance to play music to the audience. Therefore, music is used symbolically to connect the two brothers together because of their shared blood relations.
It gives the narrator and his brother a chance to escape from their pain, which they experienced while growing up in an environment full of poverty, crime and suffering. The narrator watches Sonny playing the piano in the club and concludes that this helps him deal with frustrations he has experienced in his life. He says, “He seemed to have found, right there beneath his fingers, a damn brand-new piano. It seemed that he couldn’t get over it” (Baldwin).
The narrator discovers that Sonny’s true calling lies in music. He manages to captivate the narrator and other people who are gathered in the club, because of the way he expresses personal emotions through singing. Sonny is deeply involved in singing, which makes the narrator have strong memories.
The song makes the narrator have a sentimental reconnection with his past, because of the way Sonny expresses himself through music. The performance by Sonny helps the narrator understand him better and thus, it manages to bring them closer as members of one family. The narrator offers Sonny a drink after he takes a rest from the performance. And according to the narrator, the one had carried him away. (Baldwin).
Sonny’s Performance and its Impact on Narrator’s Consciousness
As Sonny continues singing, the narrator becomes more involved in his brother’s struggles. Sonny interacts freely with Creole and other band members, which makes him realize the importance of forming strong relationships with family and friends. The narrator realizes that music means a lot to Sonny because it helps him build strong social bonds that give him happiness.
Sonny’s musical talents and the way he expresses them enchant everyone in the audience. He becomes more excited by the way he draws them in. Sonny’s lyrics resonate with most people gathered in there and for a brief moment, he helps them forget about struggles they are facing in their lives (Baldwin).
Sonny’s performance makes the writer more conscious about his roots. The narrator and his brother had experienced a lot of suffering in their lives which affected the way they grew up. The narrator manages to reflect on the near hopeless situation which many people in the community face and finds solace in music played by his brother together with other band -mates. The experience at the club helps the narrator to discover his brother’s true personality and his outlook on life.
This gives him a chance to reflect on his heritage positively, without thinking about the suffering which people living in surrounding areas have to endure every day. This experience makes him accept the difficult situations which he and his brother have gone through and gives him the courage to forge ahead. He says “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).
Narrator’s Epiphany Sentimental Value
This self discovery by the narrator makes him understand his own background and issues faced by other people living where he grew up. Sonny has served a prison sentence which has made him suffer the pain of being incarcerated. He has difficulties in adjusting to life outside prison; a situation which is experienced by most former convicts.
The narrator becomes aware that his inconsiderate attitude towards the well-being of his brother failed Sonny and made him deviate into crime. He realizes that he cannot escape the reality that African Americans will continue being persecuted by the political system because of their race.
His brother did not get opportunities which would have empowered him to become a good citizen. Therefore, the narrator manages to overcome his fears and come to terms with the pain he has felt for most of his adult life. His perception of the African American society changes, because he gets to understand the root cause of their social problems (Baldwin).
Important Life Lessons
The narrator leads a successful life as a teacher with his family, in a new residential area. This area is more comfortable and differs greatly from the unpleasant environment he was raised in. He gets to understand the importance of having compassion to other people who are not successful like him.
The narrator discovers the strong emotional connections he has with his brother, even though they do not share the same level of success. He learns that with the right determination, any person can get out of any hopeless situation. In the past, he thought it was wise to move away from where he was raised to a new area, which did not have a lot of suffering. This had made him reject his brother and heritage, so as to escape the pain he had lived with since childhood (Baldwin).
Flibbert describes the way the narrator has developed, “a mental and emotional state arising from recognition of limitation imposed-in the case of African-Americans-by racial barriers to opportunity” (69). This argument reveals how racially discriminative policies make it difficult for black people to live a better life.
Therefore, this consigns them to a life full of poverty, which makes Sonny and others like him to resort to crime and other undesirable activities. This assertion is true because issues which are raised in the story relate to what many African Americans endured before the Civil Rights movement era.
Clark explains the use of imagery in the story to show different stages of life which the narrator and Sonny had to pass through while growing up He says, “The light and dark imagery is pervasive in “Sonny’s Blues” and that this imagery can be roughly equated with the respective conditions of childhood and adulthood” (Clark 202).
This shows that the narrator had not yet understood what made his brother and other people in the neighborhood to live in poverty. The narrator manages to overcome the rejection he had of his heritage, which had been influenced by unpleasant memories he had while growing up. He has to deal with the burden of protecting his brother from any harm because of the promise he made to his mother before she passed away.
Baldwin, James. Sonny’s Blues. Scribd Digital Library, 2013. Web.
Clark, Michael. “ James Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues: Childhood Light and Art.” CLA Journal 29.2 (1985): 197-205. Print.
Flibbert, Joseph. “Sonny’s Blues: Overview.” Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Ed. Noelle Watson. New York: St James Press, 1994. 69-80. Print.
“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin Research Paper
James Baldwin is one of the greatest writers of the Civil Rights era. His words are like beautiful lyrics that attract readers from all walks of life. He knows how to choose the right words to describe a complex problem. He paints an image with a few strokes, and he does not need to write down several paragraphs to explain his point. In just a few words he can describe the issue at hand. For example, he described the socio-economic issues surrounding his little community with only a few words.
Consider the following line: “their heads bumped abruptly against the low ceiling of their actual possibilities” (Baldwin 123). There was no need to say more, as the reader immediately understands the kind of economic and social struggles teenagers are contending on a regular basis. His writing style is truly a marvel. Therefore, it is hard to analyze what was written.
The reader wants to go along with the ride, eager to know the end of the story. However, a closer examination of the story will reveal that this is a modern version of the story of the prodigal son who came back to save his older brother.
The fact that Sonny was the black sheep of the family was obvious even in the story’s opening paragraphs. He fits the usual image of the prodigal son, because he was the youngest child and he was carefree. He stands in stark contrast to his older brother, because he was the born leader.
In the beginning of the story the readers were told that law enforcement officers apprehended Sonny because of his drug habit. He was locked up, but the older brother knew about his circumstances through a common acquaintance. The older brother learned that Sonny had to go through a certain type of rehabilitation process. It was also the same person that prepared the reader to the eventual return of the prodigal son.
The story unfolded without giving any clue that the black sheep of the family, the drug addict, and the less successful brother was the one who will someday liberate the older brother from bondage. However, this message was not clear to those who were reading the story. All eyes were focused on the sins of Sonny. Conventional criticisms of the story echo the same reaction. All eyes bored down on the sins of Sonny. The following is a typical reaction from literary experts:
Like the sinners in the book of Isaiah, Sonny had sinned; he has, indeed, drunk from the cup of trembling. And like the people of Jerusalem in the Old Testament story, Sonny has suffered God’s fury, but is now free from affliction. The glowing glass on the piano above Sonny, his personal cup of trembling, has become, in effect, a shining halo above Sonny’s head; his sinning and suffering and redemption, in some way, have sainted Sonny (Tackach 117)
Once again the discussion goes back to the original assertion that Sonny was the prodigal son who eventually became the savior of his older brother. As mentioned earlier, Sonny’s future role in the life of his older brother was not obvious. It is because of statements like the following: “Yet, when he smiled, when we shook hands, the baby brother I’d never known looked out from the depths of his private life, like an animal waiting to be coaxed into the light” (Baldwin 127).
In this statement, Sonny was depicted as a scared animal. This is not the typical quality of a knight in shining armor. A rescue expert is someone who is courageous. A savior is someone who is confident to rescue people from a burning building. But self-confidence was not a major attribute of Sonny. Therefore, the readers are waiting for the older brother to step in, and save Sonny from a drug-crazed life.
In the early stages of the story’s development no one will suspect that Sonny’s absence, and his tough experience in the rehabilitation center made him wise beyond his years. But at the start, the only wise person in the room it seems was his older brother. The readers are made to believe that Sonny had nothing substantial to offer.
His youth was his problem, because his older brother was far advanced in terms of experience as a teacher and family man. Statements like the following created significant contrast between the two men. His older brother said, “The seven years’ difference in our ages lay between us like a chasm: I wondered if these years would ever operate between us as a bridge” (Baldwin 128). The seven-year gap seems an insurmountable challenge to overcome. It seems that Sonny was no match to his older brother when it comes to wisdom and maturity.
Although Sonny was seven years younger than his older brother, he was wise beyond his years, because of his dreadful experience in the rehabilitation center. He also matured because of his music.
His ability to play the piano is not only because of an inborn talent. It is also because he had this inner sensitivity, and the ability to see the world using a different set of lenses. It is this gift that enabled him to penetrate the high walls of pride and self-sufficiency that his older brother had created in order to survive in a world full of chaos and tragedies.
Sonny’s advantage was his ability to use music to cut through the lies, hate, and hypocrisy. Music is an important component of Sonny’s story. It was a powerful force that will transform his older brother’s outlook in life. Baldwin prepared the audience for the unveiling of Sonny’s power to transform and heal through his music.
However, this power to change lives was not obvious in the beginning of the story. The reader’s reaction mirrors the reaction of the older brother whenever he is confronted by something that he is not ready to embrace and understand.
The older brother seems to project the image of a person who looks down on others, especially African Americans who were unable to triumph over the evils in their society. It does not mean that he does not appreciate music, however, his idea of acceptable musicianship is classical music.
The rest are poor copies of the genuine article. This was made clear when he had a hard time appreciating the skill of a young man who had an extraordinary talent when it comes to whistling tunes. The older brother described the experience through the following statements:
One boy was whistling a tune, at once very complicated and very simple, it seemed to be pouring out of him as though he were a bird, and it sounded very cool and moving through all that harsh, bright air, only just holding its own through all those other sounds (Baldwin 123)
At this point Baldwin attempts to prepare the readers to the power of music. However, it was not yet clear how it could create a significant difference in the lives of the main characters. The older brother had no clue that Sonny’s power lies in his music. This was made clear when he saw a young black woman dancing to the music coming from a jukebox, and the older brother exclaimed:
And I watched her face as she laughingly responded to something someone said to her, still keeping time to the music. When she smiled one saw the little girl one sensed the doomed, still-struggling woman beneath the battered face of the semi-whore (Baldwin 125).
The older brother was quick to judge the woman as a semi-whore. His judgmental attitude was darkened by the music that was played in the background. His stereotypes blinded him to the beauty that was around him. Finally, Sonny was strong enough to confront the older brother. The conversation they had before they went to the bar was the start of the healing process. For the first time, the older brother realized that he did something wrong. Consider the following conversation between the two brothers:
But we just agreed, I said, that there’s no way to suffer. Isn’t it better, then, just to – take it? But nobody just takes it, Sonny cried, that’s what I’m telling you! Everybody tries not to. You’re just hung up on the way some people try – it’s not your way (Baldwin 143).
The older brother was unable to speak after the said conversation. He realized that he looked down on other people. He believed that his way was the only way. He realized that Sonny was correct when he rebuked him about his narrow view about life. When he admitted his failure to accept Sonny’s view about life, the older brother began to realize other things.
The older brother was able to make the admission: “All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or her corroborated, are personal; private vanishing evocations” (Baldwin 146).
When the older brother opened his heart and his mind, he was able to hear the salvation message coming from Sonny’s piano (Byerman 369). He was able to forgive himself (Murray 356). He was able to let go of his daughter who died because of a terrible sickness. He is now ready to become a good father, and he is now ready to bring happiness back into his family. He is now able to make his wife smile once again.
In the beginning, Sonny’s role as the prodigal son turned savior was not clear to the readers. Sonny was seen as the black sheep of the family. He was the sinner and the older brother was the righteous one.
However, it became clear at the end that the older brother desperately needed help. Nevertheless, he received assistance from an unlikely source. Sonny made him understand why he was suffering. He was suffering because he could not accept other people’s behavior, especially the way they deal with suffering. When he realized his mistakes he was free and he was saved.
Baldwin, J. Sonny’s Blues. New York: Klett Sprachen, 2009. Print.
Byerman, K. “Words and Music: Narrative Ambiguity in Sonny’s Blues.” Studies in Short Fiction 14.4 (1977): 367-372. Print.
Murray, D. “James Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues: Complicated and Simple.” Partisan Review 24.3 (1957): 327-358. Print.
Tackach, J. “The Biblical Foundation of James Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues.” The Renaissance Journal 59.2 (2007): 109-117. Print.
The Story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin Literature Analysis Essay
“Sonny’s Blues” is a story that revolves around two brothers who seem to have different perceptions about life. While Sonny is shown to be a drug addict and uneducated, his brother is educated and teaches in a local high school. Although he is a teacher, he adopts a poor lifestyle that symbolizes the issues of poverty and racism in the US. Sonny is an introvert and it takes some time before his brother could understand his ways of living.
In fact, it is at the end of the short story that his brother understands why he appears withdrawn from the family and society. The narrator was requested to look after Sonny by his mother before she died. He is married to Isabel and they have children. This essay aims at offering a literary analysis of the short story with an emphasis on the feelings of the narrator when his brother is performing at the club.
The raconteur has unique feelings as he watches his brother play jazz music at the nightclub. The realization of the narrator with regard to his brother’s playing the piano begins when the duo are on their way to the club. He appears amazed about the location of the club, where his brother is going to perform. The surprise is obvious because the brothers have been living in “separate worlds”. The narrator describes it as “…the only nightclub on a short, dark street, downtown” (Kennedy and Gioia 73).
He uses the description to imply the state of poor infrastructure in the neighborhood. In fact, if it was a neighborhood with wealthy people, it could not be located along a dark street. Further, the chronicler emphasizes on the poor state of the club by saying “…we squeezed through the narrow, chattering, jam-packed bar to the entrance of the big room…” (Kennedy and Gioia 75). In addition, it is termed as the only nightclub in the location.
This implies that people in the area could not afford to go to clubs probably because of poverty. In areas where affluent people live, there are many nightclubs because citizens have extra cash to spend there. Thus, the description provides a clear feeling of the narrator that they are living in a locality with poor quality of living standards. In fact, the realization helps him to heal a culture problem, which he has been suffering from over a long time.
While watching Sonny play at the nightclub, the storyteller realizes that he has played the role of a guardian in helping his brother achieve his goal in life. He was requested by his mother to ensure that his brother did well in life. Just a few days before his mother died, she called him to tell him a few things with regard to life. She spent some time looking for Sonny on the streets, but with no success. She told the narrator “you may not be able to stop anything from happening.
But you got to let him know you’s there” (Kennedy and Gioia 58). Although Sonny did not complete his education, his brother had tried to ensure that he went to school while staying at Isabel’s place. In addition, the chronicler aimed at making his brother happy by allowing him to play the piano because he showed much interest in it. Thus, it could be concluded that his consciousness is being redefined and he appreciates the role of a collective consciousness in upbringing children in the society.
The realization with regard to the narrator could be likened to that of the military people who do not spend quality time with their children. Walsh and colleagues (35) conducted a study to investigate the quality of parenting that is exhibited by men in the military. The researchers found that many male military personnel felt that they were not present to influence their children during critical period of development.
In fact, they expressed fear that their children could not grow as desired because they missed the “father figure” in the family. In addition, the narrator did not influence his brother when he was in the early years of life, which could have greatly contributed to his taking hard drugs. However, he did not give up with regard to helping Sonny become a responsible person in life. For example, he asserts that he kept thinking about his sibling and he sent him letters.
This exhibits the level of concern that the raconteur showed for Sonny. An important realization that gets into the narrator’s mind when watching his brother perform at the club is the fact that Sonny is now a grown-up, who can look after himself. In fact, he is amazed that almost everyone in the nightclub knows Sonny for his meticulous performance of jazz music. Thus, it could be concluded that he is happy to have accomplished his mother’s dream.
The chronicler comprehends that music could be an excellent platform on which to understand his sibling. It is clear that the brothers have been having tensions in the past based on their perceptions of life. In fact, it is documented that the raconteur was insensitive with regard to issues of his brother while Sonny looked at him with a lot of admiration and optimism. The epiphany of the narrator at the nightclub could be termed as a sentimental delusion, which could be explained by many incidents in the short story.
Sonny planned to go to India at the age of 14 because he believed that he could gain a substantial amount of wisdom in the country (Kennedy and Gioia 60). Although his brother knew that the decision could not benefit him, he did not explain to Sonny the demerits of travelling to India. Instead, he asserted “with those people walking naked and barefoot through hot coals would only be getting away from wisdom” (Kennedy and Gioia 65). The assertion, from a brother, could have caused much psychological suffering.
In fact, the suffering could be one of the factors that made Sonny take drugs. The raconteur is haunted by Sonny’s words in the music, which seem to be very powerful. While listening to his brother, the raconteur thinks “I seemed to hear with what burning he had made it his, with what burning we had yet to make ours, how we could cease lamenting…” (Kennedy and Gioia 75).
He has not only heard the piano play, but also the story being narrated by Sonny. It is at this point that the raconteur appreciates his brother’s passion for music. The significance of music in life cannot be underestimated. It has been shown that “music, a human phenomenon, is hailed as a source of personal and collective identity, a means of individual expression, a social fact” (Campbell, Connell and Beegle 235).
Through listening to the music, Sonny’s brother learns that it could be utilized to deliver expressive meaning in an excellent manner. Ultimately, he views music as a medium via which people with different perceptions in life could connect and communicate without being insensitive.
The performance at the nightclub by Sonny makes his brother have a metaphysical experience and learn about important lessons in life. From a metaphysical perspective, the narrator can now appreciate that some unknown forces could impact an individual’s destiny. For example, he could not imagine that his brother could become a person to be admired in the society. However, almost everyone at the club acknowledges Sonny as a meticulous pianist (Kennedy and Gioia 75).
Although the narrator held different perceptions in life in relation to his brother, some unknown forces have ensured that the two finally come to understand each other. They are headed to better living. The storyteller has learned some essential lessons with regard to general life.
The transformation of his brother has made him understand the importance of letting siblings and children do what they want in life. Through the music being played by his brother, he appreciates that parents and guardians should not scoff at their children. As an alternative, they should give them an opportunity to express their feelings in a free manner. Finally, he learns that children should obey their parents by taking care of their siblings.
The ending of the short story plays a significant role in shaping the perceptions of the raconteur with regard to issues in life. He uses the music being played by Sonny as a platform on which changes could be addressed. The metaphysical experience and lessons learned will make the narrator adopt a better relationship with his brother.
Campbell, Patricia S., Claire Connell, and Amy Beegle. “Adolescents’ expressed meanings of music in and out of school.” Journal of Research in Music Education 55.3 (2007): 220-236. Print.
Kennedy, Joseph., and Dana Gioia. “Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama”. London, United Kingdom: Longman Publishers, (2007). Print.
Walsh, Tova B., Carolyn Dayton, Michael Erwin, Maria Muzik, Alexandra Busuito, and Katherine Rosenblum.”Fathering after Military Deployment: Parenting Challenges and Goals of Fathers of Young Children.” Health & social work 39.1 (2014): 35- 44. Print.
A Role Of Sonny's Blues
Sonny’s Blues was a story that can be easily resonated with for some people. The boy by which the story is named for, Sonny, had lived a very troublesome and somewhat lonely life. His older brother was the narrator of the story and only wanted the best for Sonny who was seven years younger than he was.
Sonny had faced many trials throughout the story including drug abuse, his decision to join the navy, and trying to start a career in music. His older brother was caring to the best of his ability, though many times he just didn’t know how to react with some of Sonny’s words and actions. They do their best to see each other’s points of view and sometimes it works better than others.
In the beginning of the story, the narrator led the reader to believe something terrible had happened. At first, nobody had a clue as to what had happened or to whom, but were given an insight on what the narrator was feeling in regards to this. He described it as a great block of ice that had settled in his stomach, melted, and sent ice water through his veins. This became a recurring feeling for him. Soon, we learn that Sonny is his younger brother who is struggling with heroin addiction. There was a boy that met the narrator as he was leaving work, ready to inform him about Sonny’s state. Sonny’s brother had already known because of an article in a newspaper, but the two stayed chatting and the boy had answered a lot of the brother’s questions. Sonny and his brother had written letters to each other until Sonny made it back to New York after rehab. His brother described him as looking older and thinner than the Sonny he once knew. Sonny had lived with his brother and his family for a short time until there was a falling out.
One day, Sonny’s brother had asked him what he planned on doing in his future. Sonny replied with a simple I’m going to be a musician. His brother was not sure how to respond so he asked a few more questions. Questions like: You mean, you want to be a drummer? and What kind of musician do you want to be? He ended up working it out of Sonny. Sonny told him we wanted to play jazz music with what their daddy had called good-time people. Sonny had made it clear that he was serious about a career in music, whether or not his brother was going to accept his decision. His brother had said it was time for get serious about his future and what he was going to do for a living. Sonny had finally said he had wanted to join the Army or the Navy, this way, he could get out of Harlem and still have the G.I. bill waiting for him when he came out. Soon after, Sonny’s brother convinced him to start going back to school. Sonny agreed and also started playing the piano. Day and night, in between meals. He became better each day and even bought records that allowed him to practice improvisation with the music. Come to find out, Sonny had stopped going to school all together. Every letter that had come, Sonny had gotten rid of.
Once Sonny’s brother and his wife Isabel found out about this, they were very upset. After they had scolded Sonny, he packed up his records and left without a trace. Nobody had heard from him until he had sent a postcard from somewhere in Greece. He had decided to join the Navy. His brother hadn’t seen him until long after the war was over, and even then, Sonny was not the same person. He had told his brother to not worry about him and as far as Sonny was concerned, he was dead in this life to his brother. Sonny’s brother was crushed as he was leaving the apartment. They didn’t talk for a while after that until Sonny went to his brothers house after a revival. He had invited his brother to watch a gig he had in a downtown club. His brother went with him willingly and finally came to realize how much it meant to Sonny.
Sonny’s music mattered to him a great deal at that point in his life. This was how he was making a living. His brother had listened to Sonny and his band play Am I Blue and at that moment, his brother realized how deeply someone could be moved through the music. Sonny’s brother was able to create a story out of the blues by just listening intently. His brother had bought a round for the bandstand and the pair was at peace in their relationship once more.
Blue As A Tool For Narrative Development
Story is based on common themes that explores suffering experienced by a black family predominantly two brothers as they struggle through individualism, lack education, drug addiction and imprisonment. It describes the struggle of two brothers separated and caught in the entanglements of time, space, and ideals. The narrator explains how Harlem was a very ruff neighborhood to live in and to raise a family, due to the environment he was living in Sonny lacked education and begin to do drugs but uses jazz music as an outlet.
This piece of literature introduces suffering experienced by a black family predominantly two brothers which is analyzed in the story.
Nevertheless, many critical views argue that Baldwin has figuratively used the blues in development of his narrative. The themes have been brought out in the narrative as bebop. Baldwin may have used the element of the blues to emphasize the essence of togetherness in the society. Therefore, it would be correct to argue that Baldwin uses the blues idea in his work because of the structure, the content, the discussion of the theme of individualism and the use of jazz reference in the final section of the story.
The setting in this story is one many can relate to, riding home on a train, bus, taxi cab or even walking home reading the newspaper only to discover a situation or tragedy hit home. I stared at it in the swinging lights of the subway car, and in the faces and bodies of the people, and on my own face, trapped in the darkness which roared outside. (Baldwin 251) It puts you in a place of discomfort and a feeling of unease. The narrator experiences combat fatigue hearing the news of his baby brother by the name of Sonny being arrested for using and selling drugs in the street of Harlem. This man was so afraid for his brother that he barely could keep it together while teaching his math class. A great block of ice got settled in my belly and kept melting there slowly all day long, while I taught my classes algebra. (Baldwin 251) The narrator was overwhelmed by the news that he had read in the newsprint this was too much for him to receive into his spirit early in the morning, I was in disbelief he couldn’t digest what was going on mentally. This incident reminds the narrator of growing up with his brother in Harlem and how things were on the streets and in their own neighborhood.
Based on the structure of the narrative, it is apparent that the Baldwin uses the format of blues music in the discussion of his themes. They were filled will rage (Baldwin 257). The blues are associated with low spirits which have been clearly brought outB in Baldwin’s story. The narrator is not comfortable with his selfish life. As it can be seen in the story, he prefers leading respectable and safe life. His brother on the other side leads an opposite lifestyle, he is more into substance abuse. Perhaps it’s possible then to see Baldwin’s title as an invitation to question the very sense of blues (Sherard 1). This statement by Sherard supports the fact that the blues structure is used in the Sonny’s Blues story. The title might be focusing on how Sonny uses the blues in the discovering himself.
Baldwin has used the structure of the blues in the development of his narrative. I read about it on the paper, in the subway on my way to work. I read it, and I could not believe it, and read it again. (Baldwin 251). As mentioned earlier, the blues are synonymous with low spirits. It is evident from the above statement that the narrator of the story was in such a low mood. The narrator is not happy with his brother who has been engaging in illegal activities. According to Sherard, Baldwin’s description of the motion inside the subway cay conveys the rhythm of change (2). The description of the subway is common element brought ought in the blues. For years the railway has been used in jazz music to symbolize Africa Americans. Therefore, it would be correct to argue that the blues structure has been used in the Sonny’s Blues story.
The blues take into account the form and the content of the music, which is also evident in the Sonny’s Blues narrative. You don’t know how much I needed to hear from you (Baldwin 254). The author of the narrative aims at bringing out the theme of brotherhood in the story. It is for this reason that he portrays the narrator as a concerned person who is anxious about his brother’s behavior (Chapter 9). Notably, the blues motif has always been used to portray the actual status of the society. So it is with the history of jazz, and also in the history of the families described in this narrative. (Lee 286). As mentioned earlier, the blues are based on the format and the content. Therefore, the Baldwin has focused on the elaboration of the history of jazz music to elaborate the actual state of the African American society.
The author of the narrative has also used the jazz motif to bring out theme of individualism. Well, look, Sonny, I’m sorry, don’t get madname somebody you know, a jazz musician you admire (Baldwin 259). Sonny is a pianist who likes to play jazz a genre associated
with individuality. Being competent in the area depends on a person’s capability to improve their skills. It all depends on an individual’s hard work. The author of the story has included this element in the narrative to emphasize on individualism in the society. Of course, improvisation ”players having the freedom to be composers, of solos or of styles”drives individual pieces as well as the history of jazz players having the freedom to be composers (Lee 286). As it can be seen in this statement, jazz players have the freedom of composing their own songs according to their interest. Therefore, it would be correct to ascertain that Baldwin incorporates an element of jazz players in his narrative to focus on the theme of individualism.
In the final section of the story, Baldwin uses jazz references to focus on the theme of the struggles of life. ?He and the piano stammered, started one way, panicked, marked time, started again; they seemed to have found a direction, panicked again got stuck (Baldwin 139). Based on the above statement, Baldwin brings jazz references that motivate Sonny to find himself through the art of music. The struggles of life that Sonny goes through while trying to find himself is compared to the difficult process of learning how to play the piano. The blues influences bebop at another, more explicitly emotional level in Sonny’s Blues. (Claborn 89). Similarly, Claborn still argues that the blue played a significant role in Africa American society. Musicians were able to express themselves through music. The same way Baldwin does in his narrative. He tries to bring out the actual status of the African American society.
From a critical review, it is clear that Baldwin’s uses of the blues in the development of his content and structure supports the thesis statement of this paper. In the story, the author has included musicians such as Charlie Parker and Louis Armstrong to refer to the characters in the narrative. Bird! Charlie Parker! Don’t they teach you anything in the goddamn army? (Baldwin 259). The inclusion of jazz artists in the story implies that the author was more inclined on the ideas applied in the blues in his narrative. According to Claborn This story of the doomed double for Robert Johnson, which fulfills the myth of the self-destructive blues musician speeding towards death as mentioned earlier, the author uses the life history of jazz musicians to elaborate on the problem facing the African American society.
Although Baldwin uses the blues to support his themes in the story, some structural flaws in the narrative might impel readers to question his understanding of the blues motif. Bird! Charlie Parker! Don’t they teach you anything on the goddamn army? (Baldwin 259). This statement would impel readers to question whether musicians are related to the army. Sonny argument on military lessons learned from Charlie Parker seems to be out of place. Based on this point of view, it would be correct to argue that the use of the blues ideas in Baldwin’s narrative is not effective. It does not help the support of the themes of the story.
In summary, it is evident from the above argumentation that Baldwin uses the blue in the development of his narrative. The blues element can be seen from the structure, the contents, elaboration of themes such as individualism and the use of jazz reference in the final sections of the story. Despite the opposing views, it is clear from the narrative that the author based his story on the blues. This is a common genre used by African Americans to express their problems in the community.
Role Of Music In Sonny's Blues
Music plays an integral role in the development of social theory and understanding of identity. Sonny’s Blues incorporates the idea of music to help define the characters and establish a better understanding of the sociopolitical reality and culture of Harlem. The rather turbulent relationship between the two brothers becomes apparent early on as Sonny yearns to translate his passion for music into a careera decision his brother struggles with accepting.
The two brothers have different visions of life, which, in turn forces them to continually have contrasting views. Sonny struggles to be heard especially by his brother however it is through music that Sonny is able to express that which could not be articulated in the verbal language and continually communicates his reality through the medium of jazz.
The pain and suffering Sonny endures can be witnessed through the character’s adoration of Charlie Parker, a jazz musician who himself died at an early age as a result of drug addiction. We see the parallel between the character and Charlie Parker who at the end of the short story plays his music in front of his brother. The narrator finally listens to his brother Sonny play, revealing the raw essence of his reality which in turn brings the brothers closer and provides both understanding and acceptance of the other in a previously strained relationship. Music served as Sonny’s salvation and allowed for the two brothers to open a respectful and understanding dialogue. The narrator’s understanding can be further demonstrated when he says, Sonny’s fingers filled the air with life, his life. But that life contained so many others, indicating that he had now accepted Sony’s music and no longer undervalued the meaning it holds.
Sonny’s Blues is a story about suffering and triumph which play a fundamental role in the development of identity. Each experience served as a chance for salvation and an opportunity for the brothers to make sense of the cruelty of life. Through communication the two brothers are able to achieve a form of salvation by articulating that which seemed impossible. Through listening the two brothers are able to achieve a sense of freedom from the despair that fuels their reality. Music acts as the underlying method of communication for Sonny allowing the character to express his internal struggles that his brother ultimately understands.
Baldwin ultimately believes that true sympathy is shown not by trying to change an individual’s lifestyle or personality but to support the individual and remain at their side. True compassion does not stem from agreeing with an individual’s perspective but rather results from a meaningful attempt to understand the perspective of others that leads to genuine regard for one another. Perhaps this was the message Baldwin attempted to illustrate in Sonny’s Blues, that in order to function as individual’s in a rather austere environment it is paramount to communicate and listen, for that is what will ultimately free us.
Family Dilemma In Sonny's Blues
Sonny’s Blues is a story written by James Baldwin about two brothers living in Harlem. The story starts when the narrator learns about his brother’s imprisonment through a newspaper. His brother Sonny was caught using and selling heroin.
The narrator remembers his brother when he was young which makes him realize that his students may suffer the same fate. While in prison the narrator does not communicate with his younger brother until the death of his daughter. The two then remain in constant communication until Sonny leaves prison. Sonny then goes to live with the narrator. The narrator then remembers his childhood. He also remembers taking care of Sonny after their mother died. Their relationship is complicated as they disagree on Sonny’s path in life. In the end, the narrator understands Sonny’s struggles as he watches him on stage playing jazz. The primary dilemma facing the main character is if he whether to relate with his brother based on his own values or to respect his brother’s perspective of life. This dilemma is related to the central theme of barriers in life caused by societal factors. At the beginning the protagonist decides to follow a paternalistic approach towards his brother which causes him conflict, he then chooses to listen to his brother after realizing that their environment was not conducive for success.
The main character is the narrator of the story since the entire tale is about the life in Harlem and the actions of Sonny through his view and perspective. The narrator’s conflict involves raising his own brother so that he can be a great man. This conflict starts immediately he is forced into parenthood at an early age. While he is in the military, the narrator is told by his mother to take care of his brother after she dies. His mother insists that he should not leave his brother no matter what happens to him (Baldwin 108). He ignores her pleas as he believes that nothing wrong will happen. However, his mother dies while he still in the military. The main character begins to experience conflict as he does not know how to parent his younger sibling. Until this point, his interaction with his brother has been minimal. He even realizes that he has not been playing the role of a big brother effectively.
The dilemma in the story is seen as the narrator is expected to make critical decisions about his brother’s life. One crucial decision that the main character is supposed to make is about the career of Sonny. Sonny expresses his interest in being a jazz musician. The narrator, on the other hand, is influenced by the expectations of the society and his idea about how life should be. He believes that it is important for a person to finish high school first then he or she can proceed to follow his dreams. He also believes that a person needs to go to college. The narrator also prefers careers that look more serious. He then decides to persuade Sonny to finish high school first a decision that he is not sure of (Baldwin 112).
The story shows that the narrator had a conflict with the decision he had made about the direction that Sonny should take. This is evident in the description of Sonny’s life after his brother had returned to the military. Sonny was forced to live with his sister in law and her parents. At their house, Sonny was serious about his music and practiced the piano every day. He played the instrument immediately he came from school. Sonny also played the piano after dinner until everyone had gone to sleep. He also spent the weekends with the piano (Baldwin 112). This shows that Sonny was serious about his plans and willing to do anything to achieve his dream.
The narrator, however, kept on using his values to judge his brother. This continued even after Sonny had stopped living with his sister in law and had joined the navy. It is expected that the protagonist would allow Sonny who is now an adult to make his own decisions. He, however, continues to disagree with his brother. The main character explains that he does not like Sonny’s friends and his music career. He believes the music is an excuse to live an irresponsible life. Eventually, they have a serious fight, and Sonny tells the narrator that he should consider him dead (Baldwin 113).
The author begins to doubt his methods of raising his brother as he fears that he is responsible for how his brother has turned. While his mother was alive, she put pressure on him by telling by telling the story of his father. His father’s brother who was hit by a vehicle and died immediately. This experience affected his father, and he never recovered (Baldwin 107). The main character remembers this story as his brother had become a drug addict. He feels as if he should have done better. The perception of failure by the main character is also seen as he describes his feeling after finding out that his brother was sentenced to prison. He compares his mood to a block of ice that is melting and also expanding in his stomach causing him pain. The narrator feels this way because he did not expect his brother to turn out the way he did. Sonny was once a young boy full of promise (Baldwin 99).
The prison sentence adds more conflict on how he can integrate Sonny back to the society. He is worried that bringing him back home would lead to relapse since the area is the same environment which pushed Sonny to use drugs (Baldwin 105). This serves as the climax of the story as the author begins to focus on a different approach to their relationship. He starts to listen to Sonny so that he can understand his perspective and why he made the wrong choices. Sonny opens up and explains how the frustrations in life pushed him to drugs and a reckless lifestyle. The main character also accepts to go to Sonny’s performance. Watching Sonny sing makes the narrator understand his brother’s struggles and feel that they could repair their relationship (Baldwin 121).
The primary dilemma of the protagonist is related to the central theme which is the impact of societal factors on the success of the individuals. Throughout the story, the narrator shows the influence of Harlem on his brother’s behavior and their frustrations. He explains that it is normal for people living in the area to turn to criminals as they grow older. He attributes these frustrations to the lack of opportunities in the neighborhood. He provides an example of his students whose growth is likely to be stopped suddenly due to the low ceiling that is placed on their abilities (Baldwin 99).
The protagonist also explains that the neighborhood has a permanent impact on someone’s life. He demonstrates that it is impossible to leave Harlem. If a person manages to get out, he has to leave a part of himself (Baldwin 105). This statement is evident as both Sonny and the narrator continue to live in the neighborhood several years later. Here the story shows that even though people take different paths in life, the outcome might still be the same due to the environmental factors. The protagonist’s dilemma could not be resolved at first since he believed that he could change the outcomes of their lives by following a different path. However, the central theme shows that he had to accept his brother first and accept the challenges that they both face.
In conclusion, the primary dilemma facing the main character is if he whether to relate with his brother based on his own values or to respect his brother’s perspective of life. At first, he forces Sonny to go to school and abandon music. This, however, fails as Sonny rebels and later on starts using drugs. Sonny is then sent to prison. The main character begins to believe that he is the cause of Sonny’s failure. Later on, he starts listening to Sonny, and they improve their relationship. The protagonist’s primary dilemma is related to the central theme since it is evident that environmental factors beyond their control cause the failures of the main narrator and Sonny.
A Story Of Sonny In Sonny's Blues
The anonymous storyteller of the story finds from a daily paper that his more youthful sibling, Sonny, has been captured for offering and utilizing heroin. The storyteller recalls Sonny as a young man as he teaches his students and recalls that his students, could one way or another end up like Sonny, given the impediments and hardships they confront in Harlem. Toward the end of the school day, the storyteller heads home, however he sees that one of Sonny’s old companions, who is in every case high and grimy, is sitting tight for him by the school.
The two men walk together, discussing Sonny. The storyteller at the same time abhors and feels sorry for Sonny’s companion, who, regardless of his issues, makes it horrendously obvious to the storyteller exactly how troublesome Sonny’s medication dependent life has been.
Time passes, however the storyteller never keeps in touch with Sonny in jail until the storyteller’s young little girl, Grace, is deceased. The storyteller is kept in Harlem and is caught inside himself, unfit to express his feelings or satisfy his commitments as a sibling until the point that his daughters passing gives him the inspiration he needs to change. Sonny composes a long letter back to his sibling in which he endeavors to clarify how he wound up where he is. The two siblings at that point remain in steady correspondence. At the point when Sonny escapes imprison, the storyteller is there for him. Yet, when he smiled, when we shook hands, the baby brother I’d never known looked out from the depths of his private life, like an animal waiting to be coaxed into the light. The narrator, admits that he never really knew his child sibling, despite the fact that he can see hints of him covered underneath the haziness of jail life and medication compulsion. It’s a difficult acknowledgment, one that he is compelled to stand up to now that Sonny has progressed toward becoming, somewhat, his obligation. Another reason the narrator took in his brother was because of the promise he made his mother. His mother told him that when his father was younger, he watched his own brother get ran over by a car full of white men who never bothered to stop.
While living with his sister-in-law, Sonny begins playing hooky in school and confesses to investing all his energy in Greenwich Village, hanging out with artists. The two battled, and Sonny acknowledged that he felt like a burden to the family. A couple days later Sonny joined the naval force. The narrator didn’t know whether Sonny was in any condition until the point when he got a postcard from Greece. After the war, the two siblings came back to New York, yet they didn’t see each other for a long while. When they in the end met, they quarreled over Sonny’s choices throughout everyday life.Light and darkness are in steady strain all through “Sonny’s Blues,” and Baldwin utilizes them to feature the glow, expectation, anguish, and gloom that check his characters’ lives. After one particularly troublesome battle, Sonny told his sibling that he could think of him as dead starting there on. The storyteller left, disclosing to himself that one day Sonny would require his assistance. The flashback closes there. Subsequent to having Sonny live with him for half a month, the storyteller discusses whether he should look through Sonny’s room. As he paces forward and backward, he sees a road corner restoration happening outside his window and contemplates its importance.
In the long run Sonny returns home and welcomes his sibling to watch him perform later that night. The two siblings go to a little jazz club where everybody knows and regards Sonny. Sonny and the band get in front of an audience and play, and as they play, the storyteller watches Sonny battle with the music. The narrator portrays a glass sitting over Sonny’s piano as shaking “like the plain measure of trembling” to feature what a troublesome and convoluted position Sonny is in. This picture is acquired from the Bible, where the measure of trembling is utilized as an image to portray the agony and dread that have tormented the general population. The scriptural entry guarantees a help from that misery, yet Baldwin’s utilization of the measure of trembling as an image is less plain. Sonny’s drinking from the measure of trembling fills in as an indication of all the misery he has continued, while likewise offering the shot for recovery and peace.He observes all his sibling’s battles come spilling out as he plays, and at exactly that point does he at last acknowledge sonny’s identity and what he’s made of.