“Sonny’s Blues” Essay Example
“Sonny’s Blues” Essay Example

“Sonny’s Blues” Essay Example

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  • Pages: 2 (409 words)
  • Published: November 6, 2018
  • Type: Book Review
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The book Sonny's Blues delves into a range of social issues such as family dynamics, politics, religion, music, and drug abuse. Despite being set in the past, it addresses contemporary concerns within society. The narrative primarily centers around one individual but involves multiple characters including Sonny (the narrator's brother), Isabel (the narrator's wife), Gracie (their daughter), Sonny's childhood friend, and the narrator's parents, uncle, and students. Each character possesses distinct qualities that contribute significantly to the development of the plot and themes explored in the book. To fully comprehend their impact and contribution, a thorough analysis is required. This essay will specifically analyze the role of the narrator as a character.

In Sonny's Blues, James Baldwin employs an unnamed character as the narrator to recount a series of experiences that have impacted both


him and his family throughout the entirety of the book. Serving as a high school math teacher, husband, father, and brother to Sonny, the narrator delves into various facets of life. Through this portrayal of the multifaceted narrator, the author effectively imparts an extensive array of information to readers.

Throughout his life, the narrator demonstrates a strong sense of responsibility and wholeheartedly embraces his duties. From an early age, he assumes the role of caretaker for his younger brother, Sonny, in a manner similar to that of an older sibling. He excels academically and establishes himself as someone who can be relied upon. This reliability is evident when their mother passes away and entrusts him with the responsibility of looking after Sonny. To convince him, she presents compelling reasons, such as the undisclosed death of their uncle (Baldwin 3). The narrator goes above and

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beyond in fulfilling his duty to care for Sonny until they eventually part ways. Even following Sonny's arrest, the narrator welcomes him back into his life and continues to fulfill his role as a caregiver.

The text introduces the narrator as a middle-class worker who takes pride in his job, despite it not being appealing to many working-class individuals. Initially, he is portrayed as a high school teacher with expertise in mathematics and later algebra. Additionally, he has prior experience serving in the army and participating in several wars. "Mama tried to explain something about this issue shortly after Daddy's death. I was on furlough from the army at home (Baldwin 5)." This showcases the narrator's commitment to hard work and being a diligent employee.

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