A summary and an analysis of the short story sonnys blues by james baldwin

Unlike Sonny who is constantly struggling with his feelings, he chooses to ignore his own pain. Sonny told his brother about his dream of becoming a jazz pianist, which the narrator dismissed.

She told him the story of how his uncle died he was deliberately run over by drunken white menhow his father was never the same, and that the narrator has to watch over Sonny. When he comes back for the funeral, he has a talk with Sonny, trying to figure out who he is, because they are so distant from one another.

The narrator was married to Isabel two days after this talk, and then he went off to war. He says that when the lady was singing at the revival meeting, it reminded him what it feels like when heroin is coursing through your veins.

They go to the jazz club in Greenwich Village. Though suffering cannot be avoided, one can struggle against it, and one can support others in their struggles.

Once the narrator has suffered tremendously himself, he begins to understand that Sonny needs his help and decides to write him a letter. Sonny reluctantly agreed to do so. This is a failure of compassion and, in a sense, a betrayal of the familial bond, which Baldwin insists must be based on empathy and kindness.

The narrator asks if he has to feel like that to play. The narrator walked away, telling himself that one day Sonny would need his help. As he prepares to teach his algebra class, the narrator remembers Sonny as a young boy. The narrator then thinks back to the last time he saw his mother alive, just before he went off to war most likely fought in Korea.

Sonny, however, is more like a ghost; he shows no emotion and does not talk to anyone. It is soon found out that Sonny is not going to school. Isabel is Sonny's sister-in-law, she is open and talkative. In order to help Sonny, the narrator needs to try to understand him, but he fails to do that here.

The narrator feels like a failure for allowing them to grow up that way, and also for not having a safer place to bring Sonny to recover from his addiction.

Sonny's Blues Summary

After his daughter Grace dies of polio, he decides to write Sonny a letter. Heroin is a way to try not to suffer, a way to take control of inner chaos and to find shelter from outer suffering.

By trying to understand who Sonny is and what he cares about, the narrator could have intervened in his life before his problems got out of control. Characters[ edit ] Sonny is the narrator's brother. Isabel saw Grace die, and her nightmares about it still wake her up at night.

However, he cannot get his mind off Sonny. Plot summary[ edit ] "Sonny's Blues" is a story written in the first-person singular narrative style.

Sonny invites the narrator to hear him play piano with a group in a Greenwich Village club. The fact that the narrator suffers so acutely from simply hearing bad news suggests that suffering is contagious. The next time he came back to the states was for his mother's funeral.

There is a woman singing, which seems to hypnotize them both. In the beginning, he falters, as he has not played for over a year, but after a while, his playing becomes completely magical and enchants the narrator and everyone in the club.

He answers that some people do.

Sonny's Blues Summary

He tried to hide the truancy letters, but one eventually made it to the house. At the nightclub, the narrator understands what Sonny means when he finally hears him play. This passage also makes clear the danger that the narrator himself is facing: Sonny says it makes you feel in control, and sometimes you just have to feel that way.

This echoes the scene in the jazz club and the two are also connected by the image of darknesswhich suggests that suffering and relief are intertwined, as relief is made meaningful through suffering.The analysis of Sonny’s blues story.

James Baldwin Sonny’s blues analysis is a complex research of each character individually, taking into consideration various circumstances and the surrounding of that time and in the concrete place.

In the process of analyzing Sonny, we can observe many controversial things and actions. He sends Sonny a drink (Scotch and milk – gross!) and as the waitress puts it on the piano above Sonny's head, the narrator doesn't think he sees it.

But then Sonny takes a drink, nods to the narrator, and goes back to playing. Oct 22,  · Short Story Saturdays are a new segment on the channel where, every Saturday for the rest of the year, I'll be talking about a famous short story and how it makes me feel things.

Sonny's Blues" () is a short story by James Baldwin. It later appeared in the short story collection Going to Meet the Man. Plot summary "Sonny's Blues" is a story written in the first-person singular narrative style. The story opens with the narrator, who reads about his younger brother named Sonny who has been caught in a heroin bust.

Sonny's Blues study guide contains a biography of James Baldwin, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

About Sonny's Blues Sonny's Blues Summary. After the funeral, the two brothers sat and talked about Sonny’s future. Sonny told his brother about his dream of becoming a jazz pianist, which the narrator dismissed.

The narrator arranged for Sonny to live with his wife’s family until Sonny graduated from college. Sonny reluctantly agreed to do so.

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A summary and an analysis of the short story sonnys blues by james baldwin
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