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Story analysis - Assignment Example

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In the story, “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin narrates the difficulties of an older brother in understanding a younger brother who has chosen a different and destructive path in life. The protagonist is the narrator and he struggles to understand Sonny’s decisions,…
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Satinder Kaur Mr. Curtis Derrick ENG 102 February 25, Brotherly Love, Suffering, and Music in Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” In the story, “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin narrates the difficulties of an older brother in understanding a younger brother who has chosen a different and destructive path in life. The protagonist is the narrator and he struggles to understand Sonny’s decisions, particularly his desire to be a jazz musician. The narrator blames jazz for his brother’s drug addiction and hopelessness. He experiences an epiphany, however, when Sonny’s struggles became more real to him after his own daughter Grace died when she was only two years old and after hearing Sonny play with his jazz group. He has come to know that, if he truly loves his brother, he should respect his desire for freedom and individuality and to appreciate how music frees all of them from their inner struggles.
The story has the theme of brotherly love. The narrator cannot seem to show his love for his brother whom he has harshly judged, when the latter chose to be a jazz player instead of finishing college and especially when he became addicted to heroin. This short story includes their mother’s narration of what happened to their father’s brother. Their father lost his brother due to racism and injustice. His mother reminds the narrator to take care of his brother: “You may not be able to stop nothing from happening. But you got to let him know you’s there” (Baldwin par. 112). She tells his son to love his brother whatever happens because the world is already cruel, and the only way to make it less cruel is to ensure that they have each other’s back whatever happens. If they suffer, and they will, they must suffer together.
Work Cited
Baldwin, James. “Sonny’s Blues.” Compact Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Eds. Laurie G. Kriszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Wadsworth, 2013. 561-573. Print. Read More
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