An analysis of the main characters in sonnys blues by james baldwin

October 21, at Within the first paragraph of the short story darkness is introduced as a major theme, and the protagonist is completely surrounded by the darkness. Signifying that darkness is something that will always follow you, and be present. People go to the movies with the intention of watching something entertaining, or something to get their mind off of their current situation.

An analysis of the main characters in sonnys blues by james baldwin

Baldwin's "Blues Text" as Intracultural Critique In "Baldwin, Bebop, and 'Sonny's Blues,' " Pancho Savery argues that, "although there have been interesting analyses of 'Sonny's Blues,' none of them has gotten to the specificities of the music and the wider cultural implications.

An analysis of the main characters in sonnys blues by james baldwin

The story, though titled "Sonny's Blues," strongly supports a reading that it is jazz, and more specifically "Bebop," that Sonny plays in the culminating scene, a cultural context few critics seem to foreground in their treatment of the story.

When the narrator comes to understand his brother Sonny through the latter's apparent struggle to strike out into the deep, unexplored waters of jazz improvisation, the meta- narrative quality of jazz is foregrounded; the "blues" Sonny plays are a commentary on the historical context and function of the blues Baldwin suggests are inadequate to convey the "sad sto- ries" of urban Harlem.

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The narrator is only really able to listen, however, after experiencing the loss of his daughter and after observing Sonny enjoy the singing voice of a woman at a street revival meeting-despite the "terrible song"-and hearing from his mother the narrative of "darkness" traditionally related through the blues but transformed by Sonny into Bebop, a form of jazz that both embraces and critiques that very narrative.

Tracey Sherard received her Ph. She has published articles on Thomas Pynchon and Virginia Woolf, and wrote her dissertation on narrative theory and gender in the twentieth-century novel. In the opening paragraph, the narrator reads Sonny's "story" in the newspaper while riding the subway from Harlem to the school where he teaches algebra: The image of the narrator's face reflected in the window of the subway car, along with the hint of the roaring sound of the "darkness," or the sub- way itself-for Baldwin's words com- prise a curious moment of synaesthe- sia-certainly points to the "tran- sience" of the railway juncture Baker views as unique to the matrix of the blues 7the "always already" of African American experience and cul- ture 4.

Baldwin's description of the motion inside the subway car conveys the rhythm of "change, movement, action, continuance" of the "always nomadically wandering" blues Baker 8 ; however, the narrator of "Sonny's Blues" does not feel the uncertain hope, the possibility of "unrestrained mobility and unlimited freedom" that, according to Baker, the railway once symbolized to African Americans As opposed to the "city of refuge" De Jongh 15 of the early decades of the twentieth century, the narrator's Harlem is that of "the emerging ghet- to" It was a summer of dreadful speculations and discoveries, of which these were not the worst.

Crime became real, for example-for the first time-not as a possibility but as the possibility.

Setting Analysis of the Nightclub in “Sonny’s Blues” “Sonny’s Blues,” which is an outstanding short story by James Baldwin, describes many obstacles in lifestyles and relationships of African-Americans in the influential time of post Harlem Renaissance and discrimination in the s. This is seen in the short story Sonny’s Blues, the main characters takes several attempts to understand one another and forget about their past. Sonny’s music, on the other hand, had a . here be dragons baldwin Essay Examples. Top Tag’s. leaders criticism career goals sociology racial profiling integrity argumentative problem solution philosophy heroes nature vs. nurture white privilege autobiography into the wild friend. Words. to. Search Pages. to. Search.

Along with the reference to the movement of the subway car at the beginning of "Sonny's Blues," we get the poignant image of the narrator's face "trapped in the darkness which roared outside" Baldwin's use of trapped at the beginning of this text is no accident, for negotiating the trap of a specific cultural narrative is the sub- ject of "Sonny's Blues," as well as the unique version of the blues Sonny eventually achieves.

Clearly, "Sonny's Blues" not only tells a story; it is about the telling of stories. The narrator's reading of Sonny's "story" is what inaugurates the text: Then per- haps I just stared at it, at the newsprint spelling out his name, spelling out the story" Moreover, it is not acci- dental that this reading takes place in conjunction with the story's reference to railway tracks.

Thus Baldwin's immediate nod to this tradi- tion, along with the narrator's ques- tioning of the plausibility of the narra- tive in which Sonny is in danger of becoming trapped, can be seen as a sort of key, or legend, to the map of contest- ing narratives within the text, perhaps analogous to or an extension of the blues' "boundless network that redou- bles and circles, makes sidings and lad- ders, forms Y's and branches over the vastness of hundreds of thousands of American miles" Baker 7.

While "Sonny's Blues," by refer- ence to this trope, as well as by its title, announces itself as a "blues text," it ultimately incorporates the "blues matrix" into a network of signification that comments directly on that matrix as obsolete.

Boggs and Pratt point out that, "to the extent that the social conditions that shaped the blues were agrarian, precapitalist, and racially defined, the music existed outside the dominant economic system and social relations" However, as Baker emphasizes, "By the 's American financiers had become aware of commercial possibili- ties not only of railroads but also of black music deriving from them" By the time Baldwin's story takes place, this appropriation was no doubt pervasive, as my comments on Creole's playing of "Am I Blue?

Jazz, I argue, represents a revision of the blues that allows for commentary on the disappointing eco- nomic and social conditions of African American urban culture-in "Sonny's Blues," specifically, the conditions of Harlem's ghetto.

The narrator wants to believe that Sonny's Harlem "story" of having been arrested for selling heroin isn't true: I was scared, scared for Sonny" The narrator's struggle, due to his inability to come to terms with the new set of problems his culture must face, also serves as a microcosm for the attempt of the text to transcend the easy reliance on the blues as a panacea for these conflicts.

An analysis of the main characters in sonnys blues by james baldwin

Boggs and Pratt note that in the fifties and sixties "blues began to lose its special status among blacks and yielded its popularity to the more com- mercialized forms that evolved into big business: No doubt this loss of status, partly the result of "the process of cultural centralization and media standardization" Boggs and Pratt was of concern to Baldwin, who early in "Sonny's Blues" foreshadows the direction both Sonny's "story" and the text itself will take.

After reminiscing that Sonny had "always been a good boy"despite the threatening influences of life in Harlem, and speculating that perhaps many of his students were "popping off needles every time they went to the head"the narrator hears amidst the mocking, denigrating shouts and laughter on the playground an unusually hopeful sound: The nar- boys" However, Baldwin's rator had "never liked him" because of description in The Fire Next Time of his participation in the ghetto dynamic his fourteenth summer in Harlem he himself had worked so hard to rise keeps us from seeing this tra- above: Their conversation gers of a criminal career were so tenuous as to be nearly being a about Sonny is key to the nonexistent.

I was intracultural remains nameless, asks the icily determined-more deter-that narrator what he is going mined, really, than I then to "do" about Sonny, the knew-never to make my have had narrator replies, " 'Look.

Can't help old the necessity of a "gimmick" twentieth-Sonny no more, 1guess. And it does not matter boy, who asserts that, if he what the gimmick is" Don't tell me your sad ghetto, for the passage is, as Richard N. When the narrator learns that the boy had told Sonny heroin "felt great," he links the music, presumably jazz and possibly Bebop, "the doomed, still struggling woman beneath the battered face of the semi-whore," and the question of Sonny's fate to the overarching narra- tive of Harlem as a dead-end: All this was carrying me some place I didn't want to go I certainly didn't want to know how it felt It filled everything, the people, the hous- es, the music, the dark, quicksilver bar- maid, with menace; and this menace was their reality.

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Then they'll let him loose1-he gestured, throwing his ciga- rette into the gutter. What follows is a back-and-forth exchange, with jazz music in the back- ground, that illustrates the contesting narratives battling for Sonny's fate:A Teacher’s Companion to accompany University Press of Mississippi, for another example, has separate volumes on James Baldwin, John Steinbeck, James Thurber, John Updike, Eudora Welty, and Richard Wright.

One final mention might be made of . James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" embodies this more postmodern style and tone.

Postmodernism really highlight the struggles within contemporary society, especially being faced by minority groups that constantly have to deal with the oppression of the white majority.

English Exam Review Adjunct Professor Becky Villarreal Maximum Value: points and the final third will be for content and analysis. Review your graded papers and go over any and all grammar and MLA mistakes you may have made.

James Baldwin:"Sonny's Blues" Shirley Jackson's: "The Lottery" Franz Kafka's: "The Metamorphosis". Free Sonny's Blues Essays and Papers - Araby and Sonny's Blues as Quest Narratives - The quest narrative is a common method of narration present in almost every adventure story in one form or analysis of sonnys blues by james baldwin essay - Design Synthesis Sonny s Blues by James Baldwin A Critical Analysis by Wheeler Prezi.

Feb 03,  · Melville and Baldwin In James Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues, the narrator views his brother as irresponsible and naive.

Even in adulthood, he is constantly referring to him as a boy. I think the narrators express optimism because the main characters was in unhappy situations.

In'Sonny's Blues', Sonny was doing drugs and wanted. Literary Theories: A Sampling of Critical Lenses subtle analysis of the complex interrelations and ambiguities of the components within a work.

3. The principles of New Criticism are basically verbal. expectations and ideas, For example, when I read “Sonny’s Blues" I am reminded of my younger sister who loves music. The story really.

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