The narrator knows nothing about jazz: He understand life better, and death; and most certainly, he sees what a miracle music is to Sonny, and even how much it matters in his own life.
Not only does the music help the narrator better know his brother, but the blues bring to him the sources of his own suffering: Then he began to make it his Sonny lists the great jazz musicians of his era, most notably Charlie Parker, who had broken out of the traditional conventions of jazz to create a new, freer form of musical expression.
For many of the great musicians of that era, drugs were a constant temptation. Sonny tries to verbalize to his brother just how important music is to him: For Sonny, the world is an entirely different place from the one his older brother grew up in and, as a result, needs new artistic forms to convey its reality.
The music that Sonny plays and loves is based less on a strict formal order than on a pure expression of the soul. The narrator cannot see that it is so much more to the serious musician—and to Sonny, who has music in his soul. And while the narrator may not completely understand jazz or the blues, while he may not know anything about the big names of this movement in music, he suddenly is able to better know his brother by seeing his connection to song.
The music relied on instinct rather than on rigid structures. Every now and again one of them seemed to say, amen. Sonny contrasts his music idols with those of the previous generation, whose rigid, classical form of musical expression is no longer valid.
But that life contained so many others Baldwin believed in the power of art to save people from suffering, or at least to minimize their suffering.
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.
Bebop, as it came to be known, was a radical new form of jazz. The experience is similar to the religious revival the narrator witnessed earlier, with one major exception: Unlike earlier forms of jazz, which relied heavily on well-developed and thoroughly planned arrangements, the music of men such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie was created spontaneously as the men listened and responded to each other.
For musicians like Sonny, the freedom of expression that came with bebop was a chance to live freely, defy social conventions and norms, and create something utterly original. It is not surprising that BaldwinTranscript of Sonny's Blues: The Role of Music Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin The Role of Music Influence on the Plot Influence on the Characters Sonny Man vs.
Society Man vs. Man Escaping through Music Heroin Use and Music Aspiring to Music Purpose of Music Through the use of music, Sonny is able to escape the hardships of poverty, segregation, and temptation which characterized this time period. The name of the story is “Sonny’s Blues”, which contradicts with the genre of music, which Sonny is dedicated to.
Sonny finds his strengths and motivation in jazz music. Basically, this music genre is based on informal order and format, which gives the musicians a lot. Jazz music represents passion and escape for Sonny.
The very people the narrator negatively associates with jazz are the ones who function as a sort of second family for Sonny. While jazz is alien to the narrator, it's comfortable and comforting for Sonny. Analysis of Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin In the story of “Sonny’s Blues,” by Baldwin, the beginning of the story finds Sonny’s brother on his way to work reading about Sonny’s predicament.
Sonny got arrested for “peddling and using heroin.” He didn’t want to believe that his brother was in trouble. In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues," music is the central focus of Sonny's life—it is the only thing that seems to release him from his suffering: his addiction, growing up black, feeling alone and cut off from others, and a feeling that he has no one to love or understand him.
From the title of the story to the closing scene, music plays a central role in defining the characters and culture of Harlem in “Sonny’s Blues.” At a young age, Sonny decides he wants to grow up to become a musician, a decision that his brother has difficulty accepting.Download