James Baldwin ‘ “ Sonny ‘s Blues ” is a narrative that basically describes a deep misinterpretation between two brothers. The narrative is about Sonny and his inability to get away the force per unit areas of his Harlem community to do something great of himself. Unlike his brother, his brother, the storyteller, Sonny struggles to happen his topographic point in the society. Therefore, “ Sonny ‘s Blues ” is a narrative of the coming together of two universes ; the universe of his brother, which represents societal mobility and success, and a universe of Sonny and most black young persons in Harlem, who represents moral degeneracy and failure. Though the storyteller provides a glance of his ain life, Sonny is the chief character because the narrative is basically about Sonny ‘s battle to get the better of those elements in his community that prevents him from accomplishing his dream of going a piano player. In a sense, Sonny ‘s life is used as a mirror for the challenges that face most black young persons in economically down inner-city vicinities across America.
The subject of “ Sonny ‘s Blues ” is one of two brothers ‘ inability to understand each other, which is based on the fact that they represent two really distinguishable societal category within the black community. Harmonizing to Suzy Bernstein Goldman in “ James Baldwin ‘s ‘Sonny ‘s Bluess ‘ : A Message in Music, ” in the narrative, “ subject, signifier, and image blend into perfect harmoniousness and rise to a thundering crescendo. . . [ it ] Tells of two black brothers ‘ battle to understand one another ” ( Goldstein 231 ) . In the oncoming of the narrative, the storyteller, a school instructor is believing about what has become of his brother Sonny who “ had been picked up, the eventide before, in a foray on an flat business district, for mongering and utilizing diacetylmorphine ” ( 43 ) . Here we are presented with two really different images of the brothers: one is a school instructor who seems to be rational, and is the image of success, and the other a drug trader and nut, whose future seems to get down with drugs and ends with gaol clip. The storyteller is presented as a concerned brother, nevertheless, who worries about the black mentality of Sonny ‘s hereafter. He reminds himself, “ I did n’t desire to believe that I ‘d of all time see my brother traveling down, coming to nil ” ( 43 ) , a powerful disclosure which causes him to flush inquiry whether his instruction of algebra will salvage the young persons in his category from coming to destroy like Sonny.
“ Sonny ‘s Blues ” is chiefly about Sonny because his experience as a fighting black young person is used as a contemplation of the battle most black young persons face mundane and fail to get the better of. In a sense, the narrative reflects the guilt of successful inkinesss at the fact that they achieve some grade of success in their lives while the bulk of people they know, including close relations, are unable to get away the force per unit areas of drugs and other signifiers of enticement and debasement impacting the inkinesss in inner-city America where chances for societal upward mobility are thin. In “ Wordss and Music: Narrative Ambiguity in ‘Sonny ‘s Bluess, ” Keith E. Byeman “ Tells of the developing relationship between Sonny, a musician and drug nut, and the storyteller, his brother, who feels a struggle between the security of his middle-class life and the emotional hazards of brotherhood with Sonny ” ( Byerman 367 ) . Therefore, Baldwin uses the narrative to show how the person can be made a slave by his ain community and its life styles. The storyteller negotiations about how the worlds of the black community frequently limit the potency of black young persons, such as Sonny. As the storyteller teaches his pupils, he compares their lives to the life of the mean black young person in the community where he grew up: “ These male childs, now, were populating as we ‘d been populating so, they were turning up with a haste and their caputs bumped suddenly against the low ceiling of their existent possibilities ” ( 44 ) . The storyteller ‘s choler and defeat with how the universe is divided in categories is seen by his choler at the drug nut who peers into the school courtyard and finally tells him about Sonny ‘s blues. His visual aspect reminds the storyteller of Sonny, but goes to demo how many black young persons with limited chances to acquire out of the ghetto, can merely woolgather about mainstream America ‘s cultural life style and accomplishments, a ground why the storyteller argues that these young persons are angry and full of fury. Before Sonny got his piano, his universe was limited to utilizing and selling drugs.
By the way, the comparing between the slave trade and Sonny ‘s deep down dependence to drugs is elusive but apparent. His changeless physical and mental battle to get away his habit-forming and deathly society is similar to the torment a victim of bondage must hold felt in his pursuit for rescue from his torture. This is expressed in Sonny ‘s missive to the storyteller, where he says, “ I wanted to compose you many a clip but I dug how much I must hold hurt you and so I did n’t compose. But no I feel like a adult male who ‘s been seeking to mount up out of some deep, existent deep and fetid hole and merely saw the Sun up at that place, outside. I got to acquire outside ” ( 46 ) . This explains why Donald C. Murray in “ James Baldwin ‘s ‘Sonny ‘s Bluess ‘ : Complicated and Simple, ” points out that this narrative “ trades with adult male ‘s demand to happen his individuality in a hostile society and, in a societal state of affairs which invites fatalistic conformity, his ability to understand himself though artistic creative activity, which is both single and communal ” ( Murray 353 ) . This thought is revealed in Sonny ‘s missive to the storyteller, where he says, “ I ca n’t acquire anything directly in my caput down here and I tried non to believe about what ‘s traveling to go on to me when I get outside once more. Sometime I think I ‘m traveling to toss and ne’er acquire outside, and sometimes I think I ‘ll come directly back. I tell you one thing, though, I ‘d instead blow my encephalons out than travel through this once more ” ( 47 ) . Therefore, while the storyteller has seen the visible radiation of success, Sonny remains in the darkness, non because he wants to but because his society clouds and impairs his vision of success. Sonny and the storyteller are two strong-minded brothers who had different motives as kids: Sonny was non an boisterous kid by virtuousness ; “ but it was as though he were all wrapped up in some cloud, some fire, some vision all his ain ; and there was n’t any manner to make him ” ( 55 ) . Therefore, while the storyteller takes to school, Sonny seems to happen an flight in playing the piano, but non even Sonny ‘s artistic thrust could hold saved him.
To reason, Sonny and the storyteller are like two different universes revolving in different orbital formation and with different social gravitative pull. Though they are so much alike in their enterprises, failure to pass on increased their consciousness of how different they were. Their obvious ignorance about each other ‘s beliefs and motives was the major cause of their disfavor for each other.