Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin essay

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Inspiration and suffering go side by side for talented, but devastated people. Blues is the music of sorrow, expression of honest emotions and inner pain. The person who feels this unexplainable emptiness needs to create and the only chance to understand this feeling is to share it. James Baldwin influenced the attitude towards gay people, expressing peculiarities of their world perception, their fears and dreams. He also affected social perception of black people by showing hoe music reflect their culture, uniqueness, integrity in combination with total distress, caused by their indigence and oppression. The former was brightly expressed in his book “Sonny's Blues”. Talking about conceptual uniqueness of this book, one should mention that the author emphasized serious existential issues, such as self-destruction as the natural challenge for artistic personality resulted in drug addiction and inspiration of emotional distress.

The unexplainable pain of Sonny may reflect pain of all black people that search for their release in drug addiction. Furthermore, the blues is the echo of their souls that were not understood by society and Sonny’s older brother may recall white people who make one of the first steps to understand the depth of suffering and uniqueness of the music. Death of the child may be not only a person’s death, it may also symbolize moral destruction of the society that cannot understand suffering of black people and the reaction of Sonny’s brother might reflect beginning of the apprehension. The alcohol addiction of their father shows how strong the influence of parent’s mistakes can be. Nevertheless, at the same time, this part of story shows that each person choose his or her destiny making one’s own decisions.

Creation involves the process of exploring oneself, in other words, “The man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air” (Baldwin, 23). Impulse that comes from within can either blaze through or create. The compulsive flow that strives outwards is ready to tear its master, devastating and suppressing him. Sonny is trying to explain it as much as he explains the pain that cause the flight of heroin application and the bulk of suffering that person have to come through to feel the release, resulted in creation.

Declining such things as school, work and social role, Sonny feels that music is the only thing he wants to do. This moment brings up another existential issue – the search for determination. Piano was the only thing that interested Sonny. He felt the potential, passion and desire to express him in the music. For that reason, playing piano was the only way to stop his suffering.

Sonny’s brother is an archetype of an American citizen, who has a strong will and well-established principles, a person, who is incapable to understand the drug-addicted man that does not try to change. Nevertheless, he eagers to understand Sonny because of his unconditional love to his brother.

The common pain may shorten the distance. “I think I may have written Sonny the very day that little Grace was buried. My trouble made his real” (Baldwin, 17). Sonny’s brother used to understand the world the way it is, but suffering made him feel the flow and the emptiness, thus, he was ready to understand Sonny.

In conclusion, Sonny’s drug-addiction was his way of destruction. Talented but misunderstood person ceased destruction as the only chance to cope with inner pain. No matter what kind of pain it was – the pain of society, abandoned child or oppressed indigent black man, it was the flow of inspiration imbedded in hearts of people as the tender music of sorrow, named blues. The blues that has finally sound for Sonny’s brother.

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