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Sonny's Blues Character and Symbolism Analysis - Essay Example

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‘Sonny’s blues’ is a short story by an American writer, James Baldwin. The writer has been one of the most influential writers in history and has had a major contribution in the literature industry. …
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Sonnys Blues Character and Symbolism Analysis
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Download file to see previous pages Characters and characterization
The writer has used characterization to bring up several morals of the story such as drug abuse and its effect to the family and society. Sonny is the main character and a brother to the narrator of the story. He has a passion for Jazz and later becomes a musician after leaving jail due to his heroin addiction. Sonny’s brother, the narrator, who does not appear frequently in the story is the second main character. Isabel is the narrator’s wife and sister in law to Sonny. She is very caring and helps Sonny continue with his school life. There are also Sonny and Isabel’s parents who play a major role in bringing up Sonny while the narrator is away. After the death of Sonny’s mother, Isabel’s parents take care of Sonny.
The character (narrator) writes about his brother Sonny who was a jazz musician. The story starts after the writer (who is the narrator) reads an article from the newspaper about his younger brother being arrested. He is very shocked since he is suspected to be dealing drugs (heroin) and was to be jailed. At this time, the writer is an algebra teacher at a school in Harlem. However, he does not leave Harlem irrespective of his job. This shows the issue of poverty. According to the writer, Sonny had a very secret life and so did their dad. Nobody knew what he was up to and being brought up in a poverty-stricken suburb, he got involved in drugs and crime. However, after reading the article, he still cares for his brother and cannot get the thoughts from his mind. This is evident in class where he cannot pay attention and gets worried that the young boys in his class may engage in criminal related activities. He also assumes that those boys who do not do well in class or do not have better futures might be dealing drugs. After school that day, he meets on of Sonny’s childhood friends and tells him about his brother. Sonny’s friend explains to him that while in prison, Sonny would be in some kind of a rehabilitation centre and would help him stop his addiction to heroin. According to the story, he says, “they’ll send him to some place and try to cure him” (Baldwin 18). In spite of Sonny being jailed and guilt due to brotherly love, the narrator does not visit or write to him in prison. This continues until when the narrator’s daughter passes away and he writes a letter to Sonny to inform him on the demise. The writer says, “And I didn’t write Sonny or send him anything for a long time” (Baldwin 85). Nevertheless, after sending him a letter, Sonny in return writes back and this becomes the starting point for their contact and conversation. Their silent relationship is now rekindled. From the story, this is where the reader gets to know the relationship (bothers) between the writer and Sonny. They keep in contact until when Sonny leaves prison and moves to Harlem to live with his brother and family. On his first day at home, they all eat a family dinner that causes them to remember their past while young. The two start talking about their father, who died while Sonny was fifteen years old. The narrator also refers to their father as a secretive man just as his brother. However, he also claims that he was a drunkard that made him tough and loud talking. The narrator then focuses on their mother. The last time he had seen his mother was before leaving for a war, most probably the Second World War. He continues to remember what their mother had told her ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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