Essay, Research Paper
A Critical Analysis of Sonny s Blues
Communication is the key to a person s success or failure throughout life. It is the process of informing another person of his or her thoughts and feelings. Communication can be represented through various forms, such as, speech, body language, one s actions, and music. In James Baldwin s, Sonny s Blues , the use of communication is illustrated between the characters through their interaction and actions.
. Often people do not communicate effectively to others, which can create confusion and anger between the people involved. A prime example of failed communication presented in Sonny s Blues was the narrator s lack to hear Sonny s request to be a musician, and Sonny s inability to understand his brother s concerns. After the funeral of their mother, the two brothers are in the kitchen discussing the future of Sonny, the younger of the two. The narrator wants Sonny s to live with Isabel s parents and finish high school. Sonny is not amused by this idea because he has other plans of his own. Communication between the brothers is extremely confusing, which causes them to become angry with one another. The narrator states, . . . Sonny please be reasonable. I know the setup is far from perfect. But we got to the best we can (60). The narrator is confused because he is trying to help Sonny. He does not understand Sonny and his request. Sonny replies to his brother angrily, I ain t learning nothing in school, he said. Even when I go . . . .At least, I ain t learning nothing you d want me to learn . . . (60). Sonny is angry with his brother because he does not feel his brother is listening. Failure to communication effectively with each other caused traumatic consequences for both of the brothers.
Music used as a form of communication in Sonny s Blues was a beneficial form of communication between the brothers. Baldwin illustrates this type of communication at the end of Sonny s Blues. The narrator is seated at a table at a bar, where Sonny is going to play with fellow friends. The narrator is listening to the music and understands the pain that Sonny has inside of him. The narrator states, . . . I heard what he gone through, and would continue to go through until he came to rest in the earth (70). Sonny had communicated his feelings of his life through music and helped his brother understand.
Baldwin, James. Sonny s Blues. The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Jerome Beaty and J. Paul Hunter. New York: Norton & Company, Inc., 7th ed. 1998. 47-70.