"Sonny's Blues" and the African-American Experience Book Review by Jay Writtings LLC

"Sonny's Blues" and the African-American Experience
A discussion of how the two characters in James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" demonstrate two facets of the African-American experience in the 1950s.
# 117817 | 937 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2009 | US

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This paper discusses James Baldwin's story, "Sonny's Blues." It describes the plot and the two main characters of the story and then shows how Baldwin uses these two characters to demonstrate two facets of the African-American experience. The paper discusses the serious philosophical differences that the two main characters have and suggests that they represent differences that were pervasive in the black community in the 1950s.

From the Paper:

"Baldwin gives this idea of the duality of black culture depth by having the narrator think back to his childhood and a story that his mother had once told him. In the story, she tells how her husband's brother was killed by a group of white men who drove over him with their car. The husband and his brother are curiously close foils for Sonny and his brother. The implication here is that this duality in the African-American community has been going on for generations. However, in the case of Sonny and his brother, there does seem to be some resolution in the tension that exists between them. It takes place at the end of the story when the narrator goes to see Sonny perform. In this climax, Baldwin does an amazing job of using his language to mimic the rhythms of Jazz music. During this sequence, the narrator seems to come to an understanding that Sonny has used his music to deal with his own suffering, both from the oppressive mainstream culture and his own drug addiction. This music seems to evoke an epiphany in the narrator that music is a way to alleviate racial discrimination. The irony here is that this music comes from the segment of African-American culture that refuses to assimilate."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Baldwin, James (1957). Sonny's Blues.
  • Class Lecture on "Sonny's Blues." http://cai.ucdavis.edu/uccp/sblecture.html

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

"Sonny's Blues" and the African-American Experience (2009, December 21) Retrieved April 01, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/sonny-blues-and-the-african-american-experience-117817/

MLA Format

""Sonny's Blues" and the African-American Experience" 21 December 2009. Web. 01 April. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/sonny-blues-and-the-african-american-experience-117817/>