Like Cain, the narrator turns his back on his brother and fails, at first, to respond to Sonny when he is prison. The Prevalence of Rage and Fury Throughout the story, the narrator repeatedly remarks on the barely concealed rage in the people around him as a way of showing both the internal and external conflicts that haunt the characters.
As painful and difficult as that fury is, it also makes the type of jazz Sonny plays possible. With nowhere left to go, they inevitably turn their anger onto themselves, leading them into a life of darkness. By the end of the story, the narrator has taken Sonny back into his home.
The idea of brotherly love extends beyond the relationship between the narrator and Sonny into the community as a whole. It gives life to the religious revival Sonny passes on the street, and although it inevitably exacts an enormous toll on all of the people who bear its weight, it also offers something in return.
The dynamic between the two brothers echoes, in part, the relationship between the brothers Cain and Abel in the Bible. While looking out the window, Sonny notes with amazement the simple fact that Harlem has not yet exploded.
The fury that underlies daily life in Harlem is evident everywhere, even in the religious revivals held on the streets. The tension between the two brothers is so great that after one particular fight, Sonny tells his brother to consider him dead from that point on, a statement that, again, deliberately echoes the biblical narrative of Cain and Abel.
Harlem is plagued by drugs, poverty, and frustration, but members of the community come together to watch over and protect one another. The adults spend their Saturday afternoons sharing stories, providing a sense of warmth and protection to the children around them.
An equally strong rage is present in the streets of Harlem. Fury and rage are products not only of the limited opportunities that came with being African American at that time but of life in Harlem as well. Even Sonny, for all his problems, helps the people around him endure and survive by channeling their frustrated desires into his music.Each of the characters in “Sonny’s Blues” is living a life that is, in some way, governed by suffering, but it is the significant instances of salvation and relief that prevent “Sonny’s Blues” from being utterly hopeless and tragic.
‘Sonny's Blues’ is considered as one of Baldwin's best works, a concise and touching investigation of familial and ethnic connections in the modern American society. The story brings out the effect of racism on a person from two different perspectives. Given James Baldwin’s background as a preacher, many critics have posited religious interpretations for “Sonny’s Blues.” Like in the Biblical story of Cain and Abel, the narrator refuses to be his brother’s keeper, leaving Sonny to languish in prison without human contact, figuratively ‘killing’ him.
There is a sense of lineage that emerges from Sonny's music. His playing makes the narrator understand the connections passed down from generation to generation, familial ties that are eternally bound. James Baldwin's Story Sonny's Blues James Baldwin?s story?Sonny?s Blues?
is a deep and reflexive composition.
Baldwin uses the life of two brothers to establish parallelism of personal struggle with society, and at the same time implies a psychological process of one brother leaving his socially ingrained prejudices to understand and accept the. A summary of Themes in James Baldwin's Sonny’s Blues.
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