Sonnys blues shmoop. SparkNotes: Sonny’s Blues: Themes 2019-01-17

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SparkNotes: Sonny’s Blues: Plot Overview

sonnys blues shmoop

Sonny writes a long letter back to his brother in which he tries to explain how he ended up where he is. Tragically this includes his brother, who has been pulled into the Harlem underworld, experimenting with heroin at an early age and later becoming a dealer. Only understanding and identifying with his heritage can offer him a reprieve. The narrator and Sonny had been suffering privately, and the act of simply writing a letter was able to bring some relief to both of them. Sonny and the narrator go to the nightclub where Sonny is scheduled to play. However, the narrator scrutinizes Sonny for signs of heroin addiction.

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SparkNotes: Sonny’s Blues: Themes

sonnys blues shmoop

It triggers a conversation about the intensity of suffering, and how drugs and music can be an escape from it, a way not to be shaken to pieces by the world. We still have to listen to our parents, teachers, coaches, etc. With nowhere left to go, they inevitably turn their anger onto themselves, leading them into a life of darkness. In contrast, his brother, Sonny, is a musician who has led a much wilder life. For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. Sonny reluctantly agreed to do so.

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Sonny’s Blues Summary & Analysis from LitCharts

sonnys blues shmoop

This story is my primary source and I will use it heavily to express my points on the world view of the character. Everyone at the club knows and respects Sonny well. It reviews how Sonny was before and after he got into trouble and started his music career. Bebop, as it came to be known, was a radical new form of jazz. He had kept this promise in mind when he returned for her funeral. The author copes with this task perfectly, as he uses brilliant description techniques, combining both emotions and appearance elements to captivate the reader more and more, making him or her feel closer to the characters and start to understand them better. Sonny and the narrator go to the nightclub where Sonny is scheduled to play.

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Sonny’s Blues Summary

sonnys blues shmoop

As he paces back and forth, he sees a street-corner revival occurring outside his window and thinks about its significance. Significantly, the narrator is no longer judging them for this, but rather admiring their generosity in sacrificing parts of themselves in order to guide others through the darkness of their lives and bring whatever relief they can. When borne creatively, suffering can become a means of expression that connects people. Sonny, having been moved by the same scene, invites the narrator to come hear him play music and the narrator accepts. When he is released, Sonny returns to Harlem to stay with the narrator.


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SparkNotes: Sonny’s Blues: Symbols

sonnys blues shmoop

GradeSaver, 19 May 2015 Web. Immediately afterwards, he feels guilty for failing to imagine that Sonny's friend is a human being with a life story. Suffering allows an individual to understand the suffering of another, creating true compassion and humanizing the other. Sonny attempts to explain his passion for music, but the narrator is unable to listen, thinking jazz music is beneath his brother. The music that Sonny plays and loves is based less on a strict formal order than on a pure expression of the soul. As painful and difficult as that fury is, it also makes the type of jazz Sonny plays possible. Sonny nods toward his brother and sets the drink atop his piano.

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Sonny’s Blues Summary & Analysis from LitCharts

sonnys blues shmoop

The fact that the narrator suffers so acutely from simply hearing bad news suggests that suffering is contagious. While Sonny would seem to be the brother more consumed by suffering, the narrator is actually the one more convinced that suffering is the dominant force in the world. The musicians tentatively walk into the spotlight shining over the bandstand and Creole leads Sonny to his piano. The narrator feels like a failure for allowing them to grow up that way, and also for not having a safer place to bring Sonny to recover from his addiction. Still other analyses hold that Sonny represents the prodigal son, who strayed and has returned to help his family.

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SparkNotes: Sonny’s Blues: Music

sonnys blues shmoop

. In exact opposition to the light is the darkness that constantly threatens the characters in the story. These articles summarize the character view points from the narrator and his brother Sonny. Yet Isabel, her parents, and even the narrator sense that they cannot begrudge Sonny his time on the piano, as it is too important to him. With the narrator finally able to empathize and listen, Sonny can confess his worst memories and fears. Even though they were confused by the constant music emanating for their piano, they sensed that somehow Sonny needed this music.

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SparkNotes: Sonny’s Blues: Themes

sonnys blues shmoop

The dynamic between the two brothers echoes, in part, the relationship between the brothers Cain and Abel in the Bible. At the club, the narrator begins to appreciate the value of Sonny's music as a response to suffering and he sends over a drink to show his respect. The narrator is finally listening to Sonny and allowing himself to understand the harm he has done with his silence‚ÄĒthis is tremendous growth from the un-empathetic man he once was. He invokes his heritage but is not overwhelmed by it. He attempts to assert control over his suffering by manufacturing a reason for his suffering. The incident permanently traumatized his father, who viewed the scene from the side of the road. This passage also makes a strong sociological comment on the limitations that racism places on young black men.

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Sonny's Blues Biblograpghy free essay sample

sonnys blues shmoop

These religious interpretations, while contested, merit being considered. For Sonny, the world is an entirely different place from the one his older brother grew up in and, as a result, needs new artistic forms to convey its reality. He confesses that when their mother died he wanted to leave Harlem to get away from the drugs, but once he ran away and came back everything was still the same. I will be able to pull from these notes and use them to further discuss the thoughts of the narrator and explain how this conflict was resolved. The narrator, physically and emotionally distant though he is, senses the importance of Sonny's playing. Even Sonny, for all his problems, helps the people around him endure and survive by channeling their frustrated desires into his music. His music reminds the narrator of his own suffering, his mother and father's suffering and a wider legacy of African American suffering.

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Sonny’s Blues Summary

sonnys blues shmoop

Her death grants the narrator the opportunity to reconnect with his brother and, ultimately, to be redeemed by his brother's music. Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 1977. But it's also a cautionary tale about how the decisions we make now both good and bad can affect us for a long, long time. Together they're making something new, and the light changes and becomes accessible to them. Sonny contrasts his music idols with those of the previous generation, whose rigid, classical form of musical expression is no longer valid. Women support the relationship between the two brothers. He is beginning to see what Sonny already knows: that people can always seek out ways to be happy, even if their circumstances are dire.

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