We are told, “All they really knew was two darknesses, the darkness of their lives As we have already mentioned, it becomes the toll by which Sonny can effectively deal with this world. Each brother chose a different path which was the source of their innate separation, but they were finally brought together by the heart wrenching soulful music that Sonny spent his life developing. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness” The fact that one brother is a junkie and one is an Algebra teacher only reinforces this notion. Even a child can feel that there is some sort of inescapable impending pain that everyone knows about, yet no one wants to discuss. Here we see the environment that the brothers needed to escape.

The contrast is necessary for us to understand the extremes of both elements. Music becomes one way that they can connect and it can be safely said that music saved their relationship when all else seemed to fail them. When the narrator loses his daughter Grace, he simultaneously identifies with the pain and darkness in Sonny’s life and realizes his own loss of grace, resulting from the broken promise that he made to his mother the last time he saw her” Tackach Even a child can feel that there is some sort of inescapable impending pain that everyone knows about, yet no one wants to discuss. Even after years, the narrator notices, “These streets hadn’t changed, though the housing projects jutted up out of them now like rocks in the middle of the boiling sea” Baldwin

Sonny’s Blues Character and Symbolism Analysis – Essay Example

Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. When Grace dies, the narrator has to deal with his wife’s grief as well as his own and the death triggered thoughts of Sonny. This is echoed in Sonny’s disposition.


My sonns love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class. This image is about salvation, and it…. Baldwin also utilizes light as a symbol in the story. And the darkness of the movies, which had blinded then to the other darkness” Baldwin The brother, on the other hand, became an algebra teacher, a job that the white culture would respect.

The narrator helps us see the homes and the streets and equates that with a looming darkness that never goes away. Next The Cup of Trembling. Give us a try. Finally, the narrator comes to understand what Sonny was speaking of when he talked about playing and connecting with the music. To escape that painful, dark world is something Sonny cannot describe easily and that is why his form of expression is music. With so many temptations and opportunities for wrong in Harlem, playing the piano is what anchored Sonny to a moral life.

sonnys blues symbolism essay

He tells us, “Freedom lurked around us and I understood, at last, that he could help us to be free if we would listen, that he would never be free until we did” Baldwin In contrast, when Sonny plays his blues, by the end of his concert, he is drenched in sweat. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does.

The final scene with the light that “glowed and shook” 48 above Sonny’s head represents the narrator’s epiphany.

Sonny’s Blues Character and Symbolism Analysis Essay

Symbolism Explored in “Sonny’s Blues” Symbolism becomes a powerful literary technique that allows us to understand the characters and the environment in James Baldwin’s short story”Sonny’s Blues. He lives his life for bluds. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie PolicyPrivacy Policyand Terms of Service.

sonnys blues symbolism essay

Four Different Ordering Options: Sonny and his brother connect through jazz” Champion. Jack tales and their effect on people in Blue Ridge The…. The whole genre of music was born out of the suffering and woes of the then contemporary black society. This is important because the narrator hears the words coming out of his brother’s mouth but he cannot grasp what they mean.


Point of View and Symbolism in Sonny’s Blues | Get Access To Unique Paper

Even a child can feel that there is some sort of inescapable impending pain that everyone knows about, yet no one wants to discuss. It kept melting, sending trickles of ice osnnys all up and down my veins, but it never got less. To Sonny, jazz represents his need for autonomy and an escape from the anguish of black poverty; and music is the only way he can truly express these feelings. The environment the two brothers grow up in is a symbol of desperation.

Point of View and Symbolism in Sonny’s Blues

Namely, I think the writer utilizes symbolism and the nuances of point of view to give the story a deeper connotation that could not be said plainly. Symboolism Blues James Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues is a story of a tragic figure who’s life is destroyed by drugs, but it is also the story of one man’s redemption.

However, that is the exact subject that Sonny addresses in his music. In a tale centered around music, silence stands out symbolim than noise. John Reilly agrees with the significance of music in the story, noting that it becomes the basis of the brothers’ relationship.