StudentShare
Contact Us
Sign In / Sign Up for FREE
Search
Go to advanced search...

James Baldwins Sonny's Blues - Book Report/Review Example

Comments (1) Cite this document
Summary
The short story of James Baldwin entitled Sonny's Blues has received a variety of reaction from both readers and critics. According to one source1, "While stories in periodicals are generally not reviewed, the magazine in which "Sonny's Blues" appeared does give some indication of Baldwin's place in the literary world at that time…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER91.5% of users find it useful
James Baldwins Sonnys Blues
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "James Baldwins Sonny's Blues"

Download file to see previous pages Though he was already a known author when he wrote this story, it has something in it that stirred the readers to take it seriously since it is Baldwin's most anthologized and most critically discussed short story.
To mention the variety of responses, this essay tries to mention a few examples of how his readers see his work. According to one source,2 Sonny's Blues has biblical foundations. Although there are only a few critical discussions along this line, it is interesting to note that Robert Reid, in an article devoted mainly to Baldwin's narrator's identity concerns. He compares the narrator to the biblical Ishmael and Sonny to Isaac. The narrator, like Ishmael has been alienated when Isaac came into the scene. All the focus was on the newcomer and Ishmael was pushed to the shadows. This brings in more than just normal sibling rivalry but deeper hurts and wounds that lingered for a long time.
Another critical review is taking and categorizing it as a black story.3 For Louis H. Pratt, "Sonny's Blues" is specifically a black story. He asserted in James Baldwin that the stories in Going to Meet the Man all deal with the "insurmountable fears - conscious and unconscious - which grow out of the experience of being black in a white-oriented society." To overcome these fears, Pratt believed, Baldwin's characters must "open a line of communication with the past." "This channel can be opened only though personal suffering," Pratt concluded. Where Sonny already has this channel open and is using the blues to overcome his fears and his suffering, Sonny's brother must experience the death of his daughter first in order to open himself up to the blues.
On the other hand, Reilly, in James Baldwin: A Critical Evaluation, believed that the story "not only states dramatically the motive for Baldwin's famous polemics in the cause of Black freedom, but it also provides an esthetic linking his work, in all genres, with the cultures of the Black ghetto." For Reilly, as for Pratt, Baldwin's story is essentially an African-American one.
Another critic is Patricia R. Robertson. In The University of Mississippi Studies in English, she examined the religious grounding of the story. On the other hand, Suzy Bernstein Goldman, in Negro American Literature Forum, discussed jazz and blues parallels. In the following years, the most popular approach to Baldwin's work has been an examination of his themes of homosexuality, but few of those articles deal with "Sonny's Blues."4
It is recorded in an interview with Baldwin that he spoke about the impetus for "Sonny's Blues." He said: "I grew up with music, you know, much more than with any other language," he said. "In a way, the music I grew up with saved my life." 5
According to further reviews, "Sonny's Blues" is considered one of Baldwin's most compelling and effective pieces of short fiction, as well as a deft portrayal of the substantial role jazz music has played in American society in general and in the African-American community in particular. Many critics have evaluated "Sonny's Blues" against Baldwin's longer works, focusing on the themes of suffering and redemption. A few critics have noted inconsistencies in the story's tone; others have argued that Baldwin's treatment of social and political issues is too heavy-handed. Even so, "Sonny's Blues" ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
  • CHICAGO
(“James Baldwins Sonny's Blues Book Report/Review”, n.d.)
Retrieved from https://studentshare.org/miscellaneous/1519714-james-baldwins-sonnys-blues
(James Baldwins Sonny'S Blues Book Report/Review)
https://studentshare.org/miscellaneous/1519714-james-baldwins-sonnys-blues.
“James Baldwins Sonny'S Blues Book Report/Review”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/miscellaneous/1519714-james-baldwins-sonnys-blues.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (1)
Click to create a comment or rate a document
jo
jon44 added comment 1 year ago
Student rated this paper as
At first, I thought 4 of pages is too much for such a subject. But now I see it could not be done better. As the author starts you see the difficulty of the subject. I’ve read all at once. Wonderful essay

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF James Baldwins Sonny's Blues

Racial issues. Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin

...? Sonny’s Blues – racial issues The story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin tells the archives of the bonding amid two brothers at different points intheir living. Baldwin assembles the story’s events to illustrate the edifice of an understanding of the two brothers. Sonny’s brother, who is never named in the narrative, narrates ‘Sonny’s Blues’. Even though the story is focused on the accounts of Sonny’s life, the fact that readers come across from his brother’s reactions to it and his approaches regarding Sonny’s actions widens the span of the narrative to include the brother’s life as well. "Sonny's Blues" is measured as one of Baldwin's finest credible and successful works of short story, as well as a skillful representation...
6 Pages(1500 words)Research Paper

Acting Out Culture by James S. Miller

..., they even hate themselves even more as they look at their plump bellies, the huge fat deposits on their sides and thighs. This result to them indulging in their favorite pass time which is eating that even worsens their situation and adds to their weight which they would give anything to loose. Conclusively, these two articles have gone a long way in bringing out the issues of food consumption and self-body image. I believe that we are who we perceive ourselves to be. Our physical characteristics and body features should not determine the way one views oneself. Works Cited  James S. miller " Acting Out Culture". First edition, 2007... The Wages of Sin” by Francine Prose and “Add Cake, Subtract Self-Esteem,” by Caroline Knapp both have the...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

Acting Out Culture by James S. Miller

People choose what to believe, what to where, where to work, and even the kind of children they would like to have, if they had the authority! This materialism is rated as bad by some academic critiques who believe that the ideal world should be a world where people have few choices, and therefore ‘happy’ lives! But would the economy allow for that? And would the acquisition nature of man and the absolute power of bills set people upon the same path of diversity as we understand? The very fact that nature places want upon a person, reflects the materialistic nature that is man. Without needs, there is no innovation, no commerce, basically no need to live. It is consumers who drive a market that is controlled by products prepared...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

Sonny's Blues and the Weary Blues

...Sonnys Blues and the Weary Blues The theme of identity crisis is the matter of Sonny’s Blues (1957), which is a short story by James Baldwin, and Weary Blues (1923), a poem by Langston Hughes. Besides, both the works belong to different genres of literature, but the undercurrent of identical elements like music and the theme of identity crisis binds both the works together. Thesis statement: The comparative study between the Sonny’s Blues (short story) and Weary Blues (poem) proves that both the works deal with the same theme of identity crisis, the effect of music in human life, the usage of music as an innovative mode of communication and individual difference and the scope on choices in life, but differs in the portrayal of social...
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay

Music and Bible in James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues

... Submitted: Music and the Bible in James Baldwin’sSonny’s Blues’ In ‘Sonny’s Blues’ the narrators wayward younger brother becomes a burden for which he is responsible for, and their entirely contrasting lifestyles and perspectives create a huge amount of tension between them, to the point where the younger brother is a constant source of stress and antagonization for the narrator (Schilb and Clifford 552). The brothers relationship reflects the biblical story of Cain and Abel, in which sibling rivalry manifests as two brothers display entirely opposing personal characteristics and beliefs, resulting in murder. Music is also a central theme in ‘Sonny’s Blues’ used by the author as a metaphor for the state of African American society...
3 Pages(750 words)Research Paper

Special Features of James Baldwins Short Story Sonnys Blues

Because it is not limited by fact, proof or dimension, fiction can focus on fundamental truths to a much greater degree as only those elements that speak to that truth need be used. The reader is then guided through a targeted message, where numerous elements combine to suggest the underlying nature of human existence. This capacity to reveal human nature within fiction is especially helpful when attempting to depict various ways of life or aspects of social culture. Quality fiction, regardless of when it was written or the length of the written text, can reveal significant aspects of human nature and thus reveal us to ourselves as we identify various elements of the story with our everyday lives. Literature such as James Baldwin&...
10 Pages(2500 words)Case Study

Reservation Blues

...Reservation Blues Chess and Checkers were two sisters that played a very important role in Reservation Blues by Alexie Sherman. They were highly significant in the rock band called the Coyote Springs as they were backup singers to the singing group. The two sisters joined the Coyote Springs after the trio of Thomas Builds-the-Fire, Victor Joseph and Junior Polatkin picked them as the only Indian ladies to complete the rock band. Chess and Checkers were Flathead Indians, members of the Native American people that joined the Coyote Springs from the reservation. Check and Checkers joined the band in their bid to achieve recognition and affluence out of the isolated Spokane Reservation. The two sisters were with the band in their trip to New...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Loss in Baldwins Music

...Expression the Loss of Musical Expressions and Memories Loss is often expressed with music or other similar expressions. Authors like James Baldwin, Oscar Hijuelos and Annie Proulx have expressed the loss with musical expressions and memories. Baldwin’s sonny Blues depicts the story of his brother and the problems he overcomes in his life. Music plays a major role in this work of Baldwin’s, as his brother who is a musician gets tangled by problems associated with drugs. Due to this reason he is separated from his brother and this is associated with musical expressions. Baldwin considers his brother’s separation as a loss and this form the main plot of the story. The experience in this case is purely personal, as the story relates to his...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay

Discuss in detail the spiritual and emotional growth experienced by the narrator in James Baldwins Sonny Blues

... “Sonny’s Blues The Growth of the Narrator. “Sonny’s Blues” is one of James Baldwin’s best-known short stories. It is a detailed and multi-layered narrative has thought-provoking characterizations. It can be viewed from several perspectives: in terms of the problem of drug addiction, the hardship of life in Harlem, the African-American experience in society, or the exploration of the spirit of jazz music. However, above all, it is the story of the relationship between two brothers – the narrator and his younger brother, Sonny. As the narrator relates the story of their estrangement, Sonny’s addiction to heroin, their past family history, and their reconciliation, it is clear that Sonny is not the sole protagonist of “Sonny’s Blues...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

James Baldwins Sonnys Blues and Tilly Olsens As I Stand Here Ironing

... is predefined. The Creator, who for this case is God, is the only one who holds the key to human survival. In as much as human may try to request him to extend their lives, it is only him who has final decision. And since all human have to die, there is no chance for postponing one’s death just the same way Kathy and Tommy were denied deferral. Works Cited Baldwin, James. Sonny's Blues and Other Stories. London: Penguin, 1995. Print. Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. , 2005. Internet resource Olsen, Tillie, and Deborah S. Rosenfelt. "tell Me a Riddle": As I Stand Here Ironing. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1995. Print....
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay

Faith and Works - Comparison of James 2:14 and Romans 4

While the apostles James and Paul agree that Faith connotes belief in God and Works connotes good actions, James contends that faith and works are both essential for salvation, while Paul asserts that faith is the only requisite.

James is unequivocal in his declaration that “faith by itself if it has no works, is dead” (2:17). However, he does not discount the importance of faith. His contention is that both are essential and one, without the other, is futile. He is addressing Christians, who, we may assume, are already among the congregation of the faithful, by virtue of their professed belief “that God is one” (2:19). Therefore, James accepts that faith is a precondition for salvation but asser...
7 Pages(1750 words)Assignment

S&T Debt Factors

The agreement contains a credit default contracts that include credit default swaps, default index contracts, credit default options, and credit default basket options. One can use these as part of the mechanism that is collateralized by debt obligations. The goal should be to establish a price for a given risk and controlling credit based on risk. The credit can be allowed by minimization of risk. Credit controllers should develop versatile tools that transfer risk away from a lender’s balance sheet.
d) With reference to the proposed debt counseling business, illustrate and explain exactly how you would organize the debt counseling operation, taking particular care to explain how and when you would receive payment for...
6 Pages(1500 words)Case Study

The Lament for Icarus by Herbert James Draper

By taking all this information together, understanding the artist, the time period, the image and the myth, one can gain a sense of the cultural understanding of this figure as it grew out of the Greek and Roman heritage into the period in which a particular representation is made.

Herbert James Draper was born in 1863 in London. His early education was received at St. John’s Wood Art School until he was finally accepted into the Royal Academy Schools in 1884 (Morgan & Nahum, 2006). His first art exhibit was held at the Academy in 1887. By 1898, “Lament for Icarus,” the painting to be discussed here, was purchased by the most influential public fund for modern art in the country at that time, the C...
9 Pages(2250 words)Case Study

James Madison's 51st Federalist Paper

If this theory was seriously followed, it would suggest that the citizens must opt for the president, the legislators, as well as the judges. However, the framers identified certain realistic problems in making all the offices elective. Especially, the judicial branch would face problems because the typical person does not have knowledge about what qualifications judges ought to have. Judges must have great capability, but also not have any political pressures. While federal judges are selected for life, their philosophy will not be inclined via the president who appoints them or the senators whose permission the president will take.

All the arguments were generated due to his past life as he was in an aristocratic fami...
6 Pages(1500 words)Term Paper

Built to Last by James Collins

The first and most important reason underlying the success of any company is the “core ideology”. These companies, whom he refers to as the visionary companies have at their heart, a set of “core values and a sense of purpose” (P.39) It is these strong fundamentals, that inspire the workers to do more than just work and make money. It guides them through their as well as the company’s goals.
Secondly, the companies indoctrinate their core ideology and thirdly set about the task of identifying people who are in concord with these key ideologies and train them to take on key leadership positions. The last principle of their success is the policy of aligning the organization in view with its avowed...
12 Pages(3000 words)Book Report/Review

How Did Radio in the 1960's Mark the Changing Social Order in the UK and US

...How did radio in the 1960s mark - and even actively promote - the changing social order in the UK and US? The 1960s saw perhaps the greatest social changes in history. For the first time young people and their parents were divided. They had different cultural ideas and little middle ground to understand each other. The music tastes, social conventions and political beliefs of the older generation had been violently rejected by a disaffected youth which sought to establish a new social order. These were times of change, times of disaffection and times in which a whole new social network was being established. This took the form of underground movements, independent press and pirate radio. This essay will focus on this final tool... did radio...
7 Pages(1750 words)Term Paper

Approach to Education: Comparison of Philosophies of A S Neill & Paul Hirst

He believed that to impose anything by authority is wrong. The child should not do anything until he comes to an opinion – his own opinion- that it should be done. He states clearly his commitment to freedom of a child: ‘we set out to make a school in which we should allow children to be themselves. In order to do this, we had to renounce all discipline, all directions, all suggestions, all moral training, and all religious instruction. The child should never be forced to learn, Attendance at lessons should be voluntary whatever the age of the child. Only learning that is voluntarily undertaken has any value, and children will know themselves when they are ready to learn. (Summerhill , p.37)

Children will on...
9 Pages(2250 words)Report

The 1846 Invasion into Mexico by the U. S.: The Political and Economic Forces that Brought about the Invasion

Some of the territories led to a war with Mexico from which the United States emerged victorious, expanding its territories and decisively establishing its dominance in North America.

President Andrew Jackson led an example of an administration that set the stage for the way in which James Polk would lead. In 1817, as a still yet military leader, Jackson led the United States into the first of three conflicts with the Seminole Indians from which the acquisition of Florida from Spain would be negotiated and finalized. The situation with Spain was tenuous and should have been dealt with in a diplomatic and cautious manner, but in 1817 President Monroe wrote a letter to General Jackson stating that “Great interests...
8 Pages(2000 words)Article

Racial Oppression in Sonnys Blues, Dream Deferred and Crash

... Blacks to be somewhat genetically predisposed to have lower average IQ’s but with little progression from the more extreme philosophy of Nietzsche, certain writers acknowledge some environmental causes for the low IQ average which tells us that nature isn’t everything, the environment matters as well. After discussing critical race theory, this paper analyzes the critical race factor of the short story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, the poem “Dream Deferred” by Harlem, and Crash by Paul Haggis. While “Sonny’s Blues” is indicative of differential punishment, Harlem explains the social implications of environment, which is further expounded upon in film “Crash” To summarize the main concepts or Critical race theory, there are three...
12 Pages(3000 words)Assignment

The Dominant Themes of Sonny's Blues

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 th...
9 Pages(2250 words)Literature review
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Book Report/Review on topic James Baldwins Sonny's Blues for FREE!

Contact Us