Sonny’s blues( The story)

16 October Rejecting and Accepting Darkness in Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” Harlem witnessed the struggles of African Americans, as they fought for their freedoms during the mid-twentieth century. This setting influenced the plot and character development of Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues.” The narrator of the story sees Sonny’s life as a bad song that went out of tune. He realizes, however, that he has stopped listening to the tune of his race for a long time. He wanted so much to be a different person that he alienated his African American roots. His character develops throughout the story, where he begins with rejecting his darkness through differentiating himself from black people who did not make it out of their miserable lives, but after the death of his loved ones and Sonny’s release from prison, he embraces his darkness through the music that binds the fears, disillusions, and dreams of his fellow black brethren.
Before his mother’s death, the narrator has attained his own whiteness, where he rejects the reality of his blackness. When he gets married, he focuses on his family and raising his children. He does not even visit his mother anymore, and he has lost contact with his brother. In a sense, he has left his darkness behind. Being less dark, in other words, being whiter is critical for him because he does not want to be like any other black man. When he reads about his brother being jailed in the papers for drugs, he does not want to accept the truth e: “I didnt want to believe that Id ever see my brother going down, coming to nothing, all that light in his face gone out, in the condition Id already seen so many others” (Baldwin par. 6). By saying “others,” he spaces himself from these people. They are not him, and he is not part of them.
But after the deaths of his mother and young daughter, the narrator reaches out to his brother, as he becomes more conscious of how his race impacts his social class and identity. His mother knows this, especially after what happened to her husband’s brother. She asks for her eldest to take care of Sonny: “It aint only the bad ones, nor yet the dumb ones that gets sucked under” (Baldwin par. 98). She is too painfully aware that being black in itself can push anyone to inner darkness, a darkness that is so deep and entangling that not many can escape it. When the narrator’s daughter died of polio, he realizes that pain intersects them all: “My trouble made his real” (Baldwin par. 183). From here on, he began piecing his brother together like a puzzle, which helped him understand his own identity too.
The narrator realizes that he cannot fully escape the darkness of his racial identity, and the only way to deal with it is to be vocal about it and to share the music with his black community. The narrator’s character begins when he promised his mother that he will take care of Sonny, and it ends when he leaves home and starts his own family. It begins to connect with Sonny again, after he understands what Sonny means when he said: “I think people ought to do what they want to do, what else are they alive for?” (Baldwin par. 147). Sonny’s blues beckons him to accept his entire blackness, which includes his anxieties and aspirations in life. The narrator opens himself to the undeniable existence of his blackness. As the cup trembles on Sonny’s piano at the story’s end, the narrator has reached his climax. he is black, but this time, he does not only know it, he feels it in and around him.
The narrator initially wants an identity that is far away from the blackness that he came from. He is ashamed that his brother succumbed to his darkness through drugs. The narrator grows into a more mature character, however, when he stopped judging people’s weaknesses. He started living when he reconnected to the darkness inside and outside his identity.
Work Cited
Baldwin, James. “Sonny’s Blues.” 1957. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. .