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The Dominant Themes of Sonny's Blues - Literature review Example

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The paper 'The Dominant Themes of Sonny's Blues' presents Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin which is a remarkable piece of literature. It is the story of Sonny, a young musician from New York. The story, narrated in the first person by his elder brother, revolves around Sonny’s drug addiction…
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The Dominant Themes of Sonnys Blues
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Download file to see previous pages The story is set in New York following World War II and reflects the cultural and political changes that perpetually transformed the country. The Greenwich Village, where Sonny lives for a brief span, was established as the cultural center of New York by artists from all over the world, including Charlie Parker, Jackson Pollack, and Jack Kerouac. All these artists, through their work, tried to surpass traditional conventions regarding individual liberty and artistic freedom. In “Sonny’s Blues,” Sonny does the same in the realm of music. (Sherard, 1998)
While on one hand, the art scene in New York was undergoing radical changes, on the other hand, thousands of soldiers were returning home from the war with the expectation of equal rights and new jobs. Both Sonny and his brother had served in the war and had returned to Harlem to find an altogether different life in America in the form of newly built housing projects which eventually grew as the symbols of urban poverty and disease. This frustration and disappointment amongst the African-Americans paved the way for the civil rights movement of the 1960s. “Sonny’s Blues” paints the picture of the agitation in American cities and the ensuing transformation of that agitation into a large-scale political and artistic crusade. (Reilly, 1970)
The story begins in the first-person narration by a man who lives in Harlem and is a school teacher by profession. He comes across the news that his younger brother Sonny has been detained for the use of heroin. Sonny is a musician who has been leading a reckless life and has not been in contact with him for one year. After the arrest, the narrator decides not to contact his brother as he condemns the latter’s drug habits and is repelled by his choice of jazz music. But following the death of the narrator's daughter and driven by old childhood memories, he feels the urge to meet Sonny.
After being released from prison, Sonny starts to live with his brother's family. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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