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Sonny's Blues

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"Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin relies on music to convey the theme of hardships for both Sonny and his older brother. The relationship between the two siblings is rocky. "I didn't write Sonny or send him anything for a long time." said the older brother. Jazz is able to bring both of them closer together and have a better understanding of one another. With the older brother appreciating Sonny's love for jazz it also allows him to the troubles in both their lives. Through Sonny's music he was able to help his brother's pain and in return his brother was able to help him. At first the older brother said, "I simply couldn't see why on earth he'd want to spend his time hanging around nightclubs, clowning around on bandstands," but towards the end of his brothers performance his views changed. He sends Sonny a drink after his performance and Sonny nods back to him. This represents the acknowledgment that Sonny now has his older brother's approval. Even though Sonny and his brother still have different views and understandings of music it is still their own opinion. Their relationship and bond strengthen with the help of music.

The story would be very different is the element changed. Sonny used jazz music as an outlet to express all of his emotions and tell his life. When his brother understood Sonny's reason for loving music just by listening to him play it shows how universal music can be. Sonny's older brother has entered into the white society and Sonny has not. Since Sonny has not tried to enter the white society he uses music to channel his suffering. If the element of music was changed Sonny would not have that outlet and freedom he needed. He would live with pain and tragedy and have no way to release his frustrations. Also, without music he will not be able to realize that he and Sonny must help each other out in life. At first the older brother was

simply driven to help Sonny with his problems, but with Sonny's help he realizes the problems in his own life. Through music Sonny's brother finally that it is something that can be worthwhile. There bond would also remain to be weak until there was a way for both to understand and aid each other. There will still be distance between them. They would be simply brother by blood and nothing else. Music was the element that helped strengthen their bond which led to them assisting each other on a more



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