negative experience in Sonny’s Blues


When people have bad experiences, living becomes very difficult. Despite these challenges, hope enables people to persevere and move forward, and various things offer different people rays of hope. Some people discover optimism by looking for jobs that will make them feel at home in their lives. However, some people search for optimism in remote regions of the globe where they can develop their creativity while maintaining their personality and sense of self.

The Short Tale of Sonny's Blues

In the short tale Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin, two brothers look for their place in a society where individualism breeds loneliness and isolation in the majority community. Those who choose unconventional paths discover that their societies have rejected and abandoned them. In Baldwin's story, two brothers take different paths in life. They try to find their place in the world and climb the stairs, leading to the highest position in life; however, by the end of their life journey they realize the power of brotherhood, its meaning and importance. Sonny, a young jazz musician, faces with pain, struggles, suffering, alienation, and anger around him. His alienation from surrounding leads him to drug addiction. Of course, the socioeconomic struggle and prejudice, with which black population faces, contribute to the worsening of his situation. Sonny is strapped, physically and emotionally exhausted in his own world, as he is constantly battling a surrounding world, filled with hopelessness and struggles. The second character of the story, Sonny's brother, has found his place in teaching math, while Sonny has looked at music as at the channel of his grief and way to find his identity. This is a story of two brothers who need to understand each other and unite in a hostile world. The story tells about two different paths of the two brothers, who were seeking for understanding, love and tried to find their place in a challenging life.

Sonny's Difficulties and the Influence of His Parents

Sonny had to suffer too much n his life and he was not ready for the hardships, prepared by his destiny. All his problems and tries were delivered through the blues, which was the so-called message of the person, who suffered all his life. Sonny struggles and starts suffering when he lost both his parents at the age of fifteen. However, real challenges began, when Sonny appears in the Harlem project house, where children and elders used drug every day. Before the death of Sonny's mother, she showed her deep concern about Sonny's future. She was aware of the danger, with which her son was likely to face, so she requested Sonny's brother to protect him. She believed that without brother's protection and guidance, Sonny's life would have been lost and he would have been lost in the dangerous community. She believes that his friends will lead him into darkness. She has spent much of her life trying to protect her family from the darkness and dangers of the world.

The Similarities and Struggles of Sonny and His Father

Sonny and his father have the same similarity, shared the same spirit, ideas, and privacy. They constantly get into fight almost every time. Some of these arguments and fight between them were course by Sonny's father was traumatized. The incident, which permanently traumatized Sonny's father, was the case of his brother's murder by the white men. In the early age he lost his brother and this case left deep trace on his soul. For the rest of his life, he was trying to find the truth about the brother's murder; however, he died without finding the truth.

Sonny's Drug Addiction and the Impact of Music

At the age of seventeen, Sonny used drugs for the first time, and it changed his life upside down. His friends introduced him to heroin when they were schoolboys. Sonny's brother dislikes his friends because they were dirty, nasty and sold drugs in the street. Sonny's passion for jazz music is the underlying reason for drug use, or even the world of jazz music itself brought drug into Sonny's life. Sonny views his jazz playing as a ray of light to lead him away from the dim and dismal future that Harlem offers. Sonny's music came from difficulties and dark experiences that he faced in his community and his family. Sonny's suffering confers the ability to understand and feel true compassion for others. Sonny has never been truly safe in his life, and no one could protect him and his friends in Harlem. Even though some people in Harlem were trying to make nice homes for their facilities, Sonny was not safe, as his relations with friends, who had made him use drugs, spoiled his life. The life of Sonny resembled a constant fight for survival in the hostile world, where only music was the only means that helped him to feel his necessity. Sonny's brother was the closest person, although realization of the necessity of the brotherhood came later.

Sonny's Journey and the Influence of Grace's Death

Sonny moves into the house after the death of his mother, and Isabel's family was very kind to Sonny, having provided him with a warm atmosphere, respect, and love. His brother was stationed overseas in the military. Although Isabel's parents were disturbed by Sonny constantly playing the piano, they have never reproached him, as they understood how important music was for him. Everything seemed to be fine in the family until one day they received a letter from the school informing that Sonny has not been attending school. It was the event that impacted Sonny's decision to leave the house and join the navy. Sonny was arrested for using and selling drugs, and after he has done time in prison, he returned to his native district and family house. He is still involved in using drugs; however, his brother, a teacher with a usual and standard way of life, is far from it. Therefore, he is unable to understand the feelings of Sonny. He says: "when you finally try to get with it and play it, you realize nobody listening sometime you'll do anything to play" (Baldwin 112).

Redemption and Understanding

The life of Sonny was too hard not to justify him for his mistakes, as he has lost many close people. Sonny's niece Grace passed away when she was only two years old, and Isabel, who witnessed the death, was traumatized by the incident. However, she remained his love to life: "When she smiled one saw the little girl, one sensed the doomed, still-struggling woman beneath the battered face of the semi-whore" (Baldwin 26).

Afterward, Sonny's brother suffering allows him to recognize and understand his brother; therefore, the death of his daughter influenced him greatly, and he decided to write to Sonny in prison. It seemed that he realized how important his brother is for him and there is nothing more valuable than family. Grace's death can be understood as an act of grace that put Sonny's brother on the path of his ultimate redemption: "I was sitting in the living room in the dark by myself, and I suddenly thought of Sonny. My trouble had made his real" (Baldwin 127).

Sonny's Brother's Journey

Sonny's brother, the teacher of algebra, devoted husband and father, tried to be mixed himself into white society by becoming respectable. As a result, he distanced himself from his family and his self, his heritage and culture as an African American, who experienced the way of life in the Harlem community. He refused to understand the struggles of his younger brother Sonny, whose life has been twisted by heroin. At some point, Sonny's brother embraced the truth, which temporarily relieved his suffering and allowed him to understand the sufferings and sorrows of his younger brother Sonny. Sonny's brother's wife Isabel is a strong woman who has helped support her husband and raise their family. She is a bright example of a person able to endure all the hardships in life with dignity.

Works cited

Baldwin, James. Sonny’s Blues. NY: Penguin Books. 1995. Print

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