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Sonny's Outline James Baldwin Research Paper

… Later, Sonny left Harlem in order to escape from the heroin use, but was unable to run from his dark feelings. He says, "The reason I wanted to leave Harlem so bad was to get away from the drugs. And then, when I ran away, that's what I was running from" (101). Upon his release from jail he is finally able to come to terms with his emotional problems. He tries to explain to his older brother who functions as the story's narrator but his words do not accurately convey the struggle Sonny has had to deal with. Finally the narrator is able to see "that music, which was life or death for him" would be the only thing to keep Sonny away from harm…. [read more]

Sonny's Blues Revised Baldwin Essay

… Along with positivity, light has also been used by the writer, as the story also touches a religious theme, to depict a form of grace and salvation. The writer is trying to put forth the idea that to live in light means to live a morally correct life. "As light is a universal symbol in religion, it not only represents warmth and hope, but is also a symbol of grace and salvation" (An Analysis of the Theme of Suffering in "Sonny's Blues," 2011).

On the other hand, darkness is used to show the entire social as well as the personal problems that Sonny is confronted with during the course of the story. Darkness haunts the character throughout the story, for example during the time when…. [read more]

Redemption in Sonny's Blues Essay

… Sonny's 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. The natural reaction is to believe that it is the same man, but the person seeking redemption is not the abuser of drugs, instead it is that person's brother, the narrator. Although promising his dying mother he would take care of Sonny, Sonny's brother finds it too much and turns his back on him. After many years, and personal hardships, the narrator finally makes a decision to reconcile with his troubled brother. This decision to reconcile with his brother is the catalyst that brings about a major change in the narrator, his view of the world,…. [read more]

Sonny's Blues Essay

… ¶ … Sonny's Blues:" Sonny's blues and Sonny's joy -- self-knowledge, jazz and the African-American experience in James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues"

James Baldwin's short story "Sonny's Blues" evolves as a comparison between the characters of the narrator (a math teacher) and his brother Sonny (a former heroin addict and jazz musician). While on the surface it may seem as if the narrator is by far the more responsible of the two, the narrative reveals that he is just as incomplete as his brother. His brother has detached himself from conventional society in pursuit of jazz music. However, the narrator is not even capable of understanding blues music, which Baldwin suggests is an essential component of modern black identity. Through their reconciliation, both brothers are healed.…. [read more]

James Baldwin and "Sonny's Blues Term Paper

… In that sense, the narrator is both a winner and a loser: he "wins back" a relationship with his younger brother, and in the process, a renewed sense of his own cultural identity. To do so however, he must relinquish (or "lose") his illusions about his own way of life being better or more worthwhile than Sonny's simply because it is safer and more conventional. Sonny, on the other hand, wins his brother's acceptance and finally loses his anger at his brother once his older brother accepts him. For Sonny, the trembling glass of scotch his brother offers at the end of the story signals his older brother's acceptance, and even admiration. For the narrator himself, though, it represents acceptance mixed (just as the milk…. [read more]

Sonny's Blues While the Tale Term Paper

… Baldwin is saying that the black man -- and all men -- can only be redeemed by facing their own pain, in the faces and voices of their kin, their kind.

So what are the blues of Sonny's story really about? "They were not about anything very new. He and his boys were up there keeping it new, at the risk of ruin, destruction, madness and death, in order to find new ways to make us listen." Sometimes what they listen to is difficult: "The dry, low, black man said something awful on the drums." Sometimes it's sweet: "Creole listened, commenting now and then...beautiful, calm and old."

When the narrator really listens to Sonny play, they are both redeemed -- as is the storyteller and…. [read more]

Them in Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin Essay

… Hem in Sonny's Blues By James Baldwin

Blues People

There are a number of thematic issues that are existent in James Baldwin's short story entitled "Sonny's Blues," which details the lengthy relationship between a pair of African-American brothers, and that of their surrounding family, during the mid-20th century in a setting that largely takes place in Harlem. In addition to being a decidedly jazz influenced piece of literature, this tale also deals with subjects such as substance abuse, both of which can be considered recurring motifs in Baldwin's work. However, for the most part these themes are merely used by the author to reinforce the authority and the power in what serves as the author's primary theme: that of desperation, desolation, and the struggle for…. [read more]

Jazz Styles Analysis "Blues After Dark" Dizzie Essay

… Jazz Styles Analysis

"Blues after Dark"

Dizzie Gillespie's "Blues after Dark" is a striking example of the concert takes place in Belgium in 1958. It was set in a dark venue, where the true highlight is on the musicians, with no distractions in terms of other stimulus present on stage. This is obviously a later performance from Dizzie Gillespie, as it is much different than the more up beat and complicated melodies found in some of his earlier Bebop classics. Instead, this song represents a much Cooler sound.

The whole darkness of the set ads to the strikingly slow and mysterious beat. There seems to be a great sense of intimacy, as solos tend to blend seamlessly into one another. Each of the artists decisions…. [read more]

Feeling of Imprisonment in Sonny's Blues Research Proposal

… Sonny's Blues

Imprisonment in "Sonny's Blues"

There are a several large themes at work in James Baldwin's short story "Sonny's Blues." Simply on a surface level, it deals with issues of family obligations vs. personal independence, drug addiction, and race -- not exactly in terms of direct inequality, but in the struggle of the African-American community in Harlem to provide real opportunities to its next generation. These issues are also symbolically dealt with through Sonny's music and his heroin addiction, which are seen often as more parallel than oppositional. A common motif in all of these issues, both in life and in the story, is a sense of being trapped or imprisoned, which is the flip=side of being in control. Instead of having true powers…. [read more]

Jazz Performance: "Blues After Dark Term Paper

… Suddenly, the trumpet and the saxophone begin to diverge. Whereas they were once playing the same melody in unison, they start to "talk" to one another. Dizzie Gillespie actually walks a few steps away to symbolize the changing relationship between the two lead instruments at this moment in the song. This relationship is solidified at the end of the song with the interesting vocals.

Style = BeBop

Role of Piano = Stride and Comping

Role of the Bass = Walking

Role of the Drums = Brushing and Riding

Role of the Trumpet and Saxophone = Lead and Melody

Performance: "Loverman," Dizzie Gillespie (trumpet), Sonny Stitt (tenor saxophone), Lou Levy (piano), Ray Brown (bass), Gus Johnson (drums). In Belgium 1958

"Loverman" begins with Sonny Stitt, and…. [read more]

Jazz "Blues After Dark," Dizzy Essay

… The piano does not really play a major role here but it is still a team effort.

Performance: "Loverman," Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Sonny Stitt (tenor saxophone), Belgium 1958

The style is not bebop, but ballad

The role of the piano is delicate

The role of the bass is regular bass line

The role of the drums is brushing

The role of the saxophone is to play lead and melody

Piano adds accent and punctuation, when necessary. Suddenly the saxophone speaks more, packing sixteenth notes into each bar. The overall feeling is soft and mellow, even as the melody becomes more urgent and complex. At about two minutes, the backing band ceases to play. It is Stitt, on his own. He is speaking directly to the…. [read more]

Jazz "Blues After Dark," Feat Term Paper

… The saxophone is occasionally staccato, but mainly smooth, dancing around the bass notes. Brushes can be heard in the background, with the occasional cymbal. The saxophone solo is long, and nuanced, moving through various registers. Occasionally, Stitt packs in several notes into a bar, and sometimes fewer.

There is also a trumpet solo in "Sunny Side of the Street" that starts delicately with thin high notes. The bass responds with thin, high notes. This solo does not necessarily have a lot of structure. It allows the basic structure of the song to remain…while laying on top a curiously thin upper register melody, before Gillespie changes the height of the mike. Even then, the muted trumpet works and then suddenly, unexpectedly, the vocals kick in "sunny…. [read more]

Sonny's Blues, by James Baldwin Term Paper

… While the blues are a metaphor for Sonny and his brother's relationship in "Sonny's Blues," in "Sorrow Songs" they are not a metaphor, they are the subject and the theme of the piece. Du Bois wants to show how music is the backbone of black life, and the blues are the major part of that backbone. They describe black life perfectly, and create understanding of the black experience in many listeners. Both pieces also use the music to evoke hope in the character, and in the reader, just as Du Bois says the songs evoke hope in the singers. He notes, "Sometimes it is faith in life, sometimes a faith in death, sometimes assurance of boundless justice in some fair world beyond. But whichever it…. [read more]

Sonny's Blues Term Paper

… Social Customs in "Sonny's Blues"

James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" indicates how different social customs can be for different races, and Baldwin illustrates this by creating two vastly different brothers who exist in two different worlds. The narrator, Sonny's brother, has assimilated into white society as much as possible so he can better himself and become successful. He is a high school teacher, while is brother Sonny is a musician and heroin addict. He does not understand Sonny's life any more than Sonny understands his brother's life. Sonny cannot assimilate into the white culture, and turns to jazz music as a way to escape and survive. His brother never approves of him, which shows just how far apart they are and how social customs are so…. [read more]

Sonny's Blues: Harlem, Music, and Family Term Paper

… Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin is a classic short story about two brothers, but also about the blues music that is so important in their lives. This story is not about Africa, but it seems like it could be. The two brothers live in Harlem, and they face poverty, drug addiction, and the problems that most residents of our own inner cities face every day. This story is really about family, and how family members support each other through the worst times in life. The two brothers are very different, but they love each other, and that is the most important thing.

Reading this story made me think about my own family, and how families are so important in our lives. It made me think…. [read more]

Freedom in Music in "Sonny's Blues Thesis

… Freedom in Music in "Sonny's Blues"

"Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin is more than a tale of two brothers, it is a tale of the healing powers of music. The two brothers live different lives with Sonny's brother constantly looking down on Sonny and expressing disgust for his lifestyle. His brother believed he took the moral high ground while Sonny lingered behind in the dark shadows of the city. Sonny, however, learns to live and love music, which gives him a freedom that his brother can only see from a distance. It is not until he experiences him play that begins to understand the importance of music as a tool and escape from life. His experience enlightens him as he undergoes an interpersonal transformation watching…. [read more]

Significance of the Symbolism in Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin 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." Through symbols, we become closer to the characters and their plight. Symbols help us see and feel what is happening in the novel and between the brothers. Baldwin successfully describes the neighborhood that the brothers spent their lives trying to escape. Other powerful symbols in the story are darkness and light, which allude to not only the life the brothers want to escape but also a sense of hope and reparation. The most powerful symbol in the story is that of music because it allows Sonny to escape the world in which he lives and it finally…. [read more]

Guest and Sonny's Blues Albert Camus Term Paper

… Guest and Sonny's Blues

Albert Camus' "The Guest" Topic

Albert Camus was a great existential thinker and philosopher, yet he is most known for his works of fiction; essentially, Camus uses his fictional stories as a way to best put forward his own philosophical treatise. There are several aspects of his story "The Guest" which embody his concept of the absurd, both in regards to the way the weather tortures the human characters and the situation with the Arab who committed an absurd crime. Camus' philosophy of the absurd is a primary foundation of his thinking and writing. The Myth of Sisyphus was one piece of fiction where Camus introduced his philosophy of the absurd. This idea suggests that there is no hope because there…. [read more]

James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues Expression of Pain Thesis

… James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues"

Expression of Pain Through the Language of Music

The pain and struggle faced by many African-Americans throughout the history of the United States in many cases proves too great to sufficiently express through actual verbal communication. And so, many have turned towards music, the Blues and Jazz especially, to use as a facilitator to express their pain and explore their emotions in new ways. In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues," the is a stark contrast between the narrator, who is stuck within a middle class existence revolved around verbal communication, and his brother Sonny who chooses to branch out and use his music to formulate his identity and express his deep rooted pain. Through the narrator's unhappiness with a false identity, he…. [read more]

Brotherhood in Sonny's Blue by James Baldwin Essay

… Brotherhood in Sonny's Blues

Brotherhood in Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues"

When Sonny's brother finds out in the newspaper that Sonny has been picked up for heroin, he says that Sonny "became real to me again" (Baldwin, 1).

The brothers are distant, lost to one another. When the two brothers finally meet, the older can only think awkwardly to bring up an old desire of Sonny's to go to India (6). This illustrates the ambivalence and alienation of the siblings. From here, Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" takes the reader on a tour of their conflict -- the setting it is played out in, the characters they have internalized, and the imagery that defines their separation. These narrative elements, like clues, key the reader into the sibling struggle, their…. [read more]

James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues Moments Term Paper

… " For this reason, the narrator cannot understand Sonny and his seemingly careless attitude.

In addition, Sonny is driven by a passion to which his brother cannot relate. Sonny displays his passion when he tells his brother that there are many ways to keep from "drowning" in suffering. He says:

"It's terrible sometimes, inside . . . that's what's the trouble. You walk these streets, black and funky and cold, and there's really not a living ass to talk to, and there's nothing shaking, and there's no way of getting it out -- that storm inside. You can't talk it and you can't make love with it, and when you finally try to get with it and play it, you realize nobody's listening. So you've…. [read more]

Brother Relationship Essay

… ¶ … Rich Brother" vs. "Sonny's Blues"

Tobias Wolff's "Rich Brother" and James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" both deal with themes regarding brotherly love and the cold yet powerful relationship between two brothers. The characters of Donald and Sonny are very much alike when taking into account their idealistic attitude toward life and the fact that they have a tendency to disregard material values with the purpose of struggling to concentrate on their personal identity. One of the most significant similarities between the two short stories is the fact that both older brothers come to understand the important role their brothers play in their lives.

The narrator in "Sonny's Blues" and Pete are both provided with the mission to care for their brothers in spite of…. [read more]

Gilded Six Bits and Sonny's Blues Essay

… ¶ … Gilded Six Bits" and "Sonny's Blues": The value of money

Like many college students today, I have been thinking a great deal about money. How important should money be when evaluating the worth of something or someone? Zora Neale Hurston's short story "The Gilded Six Bits" is a dire warning about overvaluing money. In the story, a happy couple's life is nearly destroyed because the wife sleeps with a rich man named Otis D. Slemmons, in the false hope that the money he gives her will give the couple more financial security. In "Sonny's Blues," the poverty and desperation of the inner city means that the title character has no way to escape the life circumstances that make it almost impossible for him…. [read more]

Crime and Punishment Term Paper

… Once the grandmother has convinced her son Bailey to give in to her desire to visit a house, which turned out to be in Georgia and not in Tennessee, the family experiences the first in a series of violent moments. The car turns over and the accident has left their automobile unable to go further. The children, seeing their first moment of violence are delighted and are only sad that no one has died in the collision. Since the kids have never experienced real loss or real pain before, the experience is one of novelty to them. When aid arrives, it is ironically in the form of The Misfit.

The children's enthusiasm and curiosity about why their Samaritan carries a gun is nothing. It is…. [read more]

James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues Thesis

… The writer actually emphasizes one of the most beneficial effects that music has on Sonny, as it is apparently the reason for which Sonny continues to want to live, even with the fact that his brother initially has trouble understanding this.

Through considering the historical critical method, one is able to comprehend that Baldwin was severely affected by his experiences consequent to the Second World War. His experiences as a African-American individual in a society that was changing, but that continued to maintain some of its discriminatory attitudes were essential in shaping his personality. The writer did not just want society to become acquainted with the experiences of a black individual in the U.S., as he intended his texts to influence the general public in…. [read more]

Sunny's Blues Essay

… Sunny's Blues

James Baldwin's short story "Sonny's Blues" provides readers with an account relating to two brothers going through great efforts trying to understand each-other and to escape their difficulties they come across. The storyline puts across two diverging African-American characters, considering that the narrator is an individual struggling to escape the prejudice he comes across in a white-dominated society while his brother appears to ignore racial discrimination and prefers to follow his passions instead, even when these are related to heroin addiction.

Because Sonny does not manage to adapt and constantly feels that he does not belong he is willing to take on anything he considers to be liberating. In this case, heroin addiction and music playing are some of the central elements in…. [read more]

Sonny's Blues," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay

… ¶ … Sonny's Blues,"

"the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," and Maggie, a Girl of the Streets,

Violence is a theme in each of the stories. In "Sonny's Blues," violence materializes in the streets in which Sonny and his brother lived. We are told about the "stony, lifeless elegance of hotels and apartment buildings, toward the vivid, killing streets" (Baldwin 29) that are present in the boys' lives on a daily basis. Sonny's brother recollects later in his life that the streets "hadn't changed, though the housing projects jutted up out of them now like rocks in the middle of the boiling sea" (Baldwin 29). The violence is something that needs to be escaped and while the narrator does escape it, Sonny seems to struggle with…. [read more]

Listening "Blues After Dark." Belgium Term Paper

… Role(s) of bass: The bass serves to provide a deep baseline, keeping the overall sound downbeat and somber.

Role(s) of drums (including sticks or brushes or mallets): Use of brushes at beginning creates a very light sound as the sax plays.

Role(s) of horn players: The alto saxophone is the primary instrument in this piece. Much of the time, the other players are not even touching their instruments in fact.

In Greater Detail:

For your selected solo within this song:

Identify the Solo: Saxophone played by Sonny Stitt

How did the solo progress from beginning to end?

The solo begins the song with a downbeat, torch song sound to it, picking up tempo to the point where it is a series of runs before the…. [read more]

Music and African-American Life in "Sonny's Blues Essay

… James Baldwin, "Sonny's Blues"

James Baldwin's role as a public intellectual in the Civil Rights era cannot be understated. As an example, we might consider this particular anecdote, which is from Jon Wiener's 1988 interview with the novelist Gore Vidal, who was related to Jacqueline Kennedy and thus spent time with President John F. Kennedy:

JW: What is the joke that you heard Kennedy telling about James Baldwin?

GV: He called Jimmy Baldwin "Martin Luther Queen." He thought that was wildly funny. That's very Kennedy. The worst epithet that the Kennedys had for a man was that he's a "woman." (Vidal 109)

It is worth noting first that, like James Baldwin, Vidal was gay and out of the closet even in the pre-Stonewall era: therefore…. [read more]

Sonny's Blue Term Paper

… Sibling Choice and Sibling "Success" within James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues"

The philosophical question of who is actually more "successful" of the two brothers in James Baldwin's short story "Sonny's Blues," Sonny or his older brother, is more complex than it at first appears. The easy and convenient answer is that Sonny's brother is more successful than Sonny is, since he holds a responsible job as an algebra teacher, is married with a family, and has never faced addictions or trouble with the law. However, Sonny, with all his quirks, addictions, and faults, has managed, against considerable odds (and self-sabotage) to become a successful jazz pianist, a rarer, more difficult-to-achieve accomplishment, even if the lifestyle that that accomplishment has demanded (and still demands) of Sonny is…. [read more]

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