1 – What statement dos the story make about the relationship of art to life or about the relationship of art to suffering? Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin is a short story written in 1957. It is a story about Sonny, and his relationship to music, his brother, the narrator and the society he is living in. This story takes place in Harlem, New York, which is known to be a major African-Americans residential and cultural place. It is also known for its poverty and place where drugs are frequently used and present. The narrator is Sonny’s older brother.
He seems to succeed in life by Joining the army, getting married, having three children until the lost of his younger child, Gracie who died of polio. Sonny is the lost brother and son of Harlem. He only lives for one thing and only, to be a musician, and he wants to play his piano and play the Jazz. When the narrator and Sonny are finally getting along it seems like it is already too late to save Sonny from the bad habits of using drug. Sonny is a drug addict to heroin. His suffering life controlled by the addiction of heroin is also the life that permits him to live his music o the fullest.
This paradox emphasizes the relationship of art to life and art to suffering. James Baldwin illustrates this theme using the blues music, which is a type of folk music developed in the 19th century by African-Americans in the south, often addressing suffering loss. The art form is first presented in the story after the death of the mother of the two brothers. The narrator, after the funeral is trying to have a conversation with Sonny about his future. He asked him ” What do you want to do? ” (Paragraph 105). Sonny answered and said; ” I’m going to be a musician.
This tells us that the art form presented in the story is about music. Art is a term that describes a diverse range of human activities such as painting, sculpture, music, and theatre… Sonny wants to play the piano, in a specific type of music, Jazz. Jazz and blues music’s are similar and African-Americans developed those two types of music that often addressed suffering loss. Art and specially artists are often known to use drugs, which according to them permit to be in a state of mind, like somewhere else, in another dimension here the art takes a form of comprehension to another level and the result is a full enjoyment.
Art may be used in a catharsis way, which allowed releasing a strong emotion in form of an art. Many very famous artists, the best in there discipline where and are using drugs. Many of them died at an early aged. Relating to music, jazz and blues for example we all know Ray Charles, B. B. King, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong…. This shows us how this type of music had and still has a very strong impact on society today. Sonny is a young nd talented musician with great ambitious. His dream is to live into his music.
The art of music has and is always been a very important part of humanities. It is true, music make people happy, or sad, but gives so many emotions. Sonny is even ready Bill” (Paragraph 155) for his support. The effect that music creates to Sonny is so strong that he is ready to give time of his life to his nation because he believe that he will later be able to play the Jazz music. Music is always related to strong emotions and passion and when Sonny was leaving at Isabel’s, which is the arrator’s wife, he only lived for one thing and only, to play the piano as much as he could.
Music is part of life, and through the centuries, many different types of music where played and even today, new types of music are created but music is always present in our every days life. The impact of music is absolutely amazing and Sonny wanted to be part of this amazing art. This story release many strong emotions. The strongest are when the story refers to drug. Drug is today a real problem in our society. There are many issues about the ights to use a type of drug such as tobacco and alcohol for example, which are legal drugs instead of cocaine, and marijuana, which are absolutely illegal.
The usage of drug is more about the financial consequences than the real ethical point of view. In Sonny’s Blues, we first can get to this subject when the narrator is reading the newspaper, in the subway, on his way to work (Paragraph 1). He found out that his younger brother has been arrested for using heroin, which is a very strong drug that belongs to the opiate category. It has for effect to reduce pain from a severe injury or a heart attack. The illegal use of heroin is often use by drug addict for releasing pain caused by their own situations, often miserable.
The narrator cannot believe that his younger brother, the one that share his own blood and DNA is a drug addict. We have another picture of the negative image that drug users reflect when James Baldwin describes Sonny’s friend which came to the narrator’s work so as to let him know about Sonny. James Baldwin describes very carefully this man that ” still hung around the block, spending hours n the street corners, always high and raggy. ” (Paragraph 5) This man is also a drug addict and his image shows a man sick, unhappy.
At the end of the story, James Baldwin, emphasized the relation of art to suffering when Sonny is at his concert, with his band. He is finally happy, releasing emotion playing the piano and “His fingers filled the air with life, his life. But that life contained so many others. ” (Paragraph 235). Sonny is no longer himself, the years of using drugs transformed him but this terrible changes are the same one that permits him to live his music. Sonny is trapped into his music, the only place he can be the person he is.
This relates to drug and what it causes to people. It takes control of their lives. Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin is a very well written story, that tells us more about the poverty and the problem of drug into society. This suffering situation creates an atmosphere of empathy regarding to Sonny. We feel sorry for Sonny being addicted to drug and especially heroin, which the only option to no longer being addicted to is dying. James Baldwin introduces music, which is an art form that can be used to ‘esented.