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Sonny's Blues: The Role of Music

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Jamie Baeg

on 23 October 2012

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Transcript of Sonny's Blues: The Role of Music

Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin The Role of Music Influence on the Plot Influence on the Characters Sonny Man vs. Society Man vs. Man Escaping through Music Heroin Use and Music Aspiring to Music Purpose of Music Through the use of music, Sonny is able to escape the hardships of poverty, segregation, and temptation which characterized this time period in Harlem. In the story, music also serves as a source of hope and motivation. Music gave Sonny purpose in his life and an optimistic outlook on his future. Music links all people regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or age

"I think people ought to do what they want to do, what else are they alive for?" (Baldwin 22) "Her voice reminded me of what heroine feels like...it makes you feel...distant [and] sure...it makes you feel in control." (Baldwin 24). Music is the basis for both the main conflict and the solution in the story. Sonny and his brother disagree because of Sonny's dreams to become a jazz musician. Music is also what brings them back together after the brother realizes that he should understand and accept Sonny for who he is and what he wants to become. Before wanting to have a career as a musician, Sonny is addicted to heroin, the only way he knows how to relieve his everyday sufferings. His discovery of his passion for music is the turning point of his life. Music gives Sonny the opportunity to overcome the struggles that plague the society he lives in. Presentation by Jamie Baeg, Amanda Casas, Danielle Del Rosario,
& Ania Lakritz Music "For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it must always be heard" (Baldwin 27). Throughout the story, heroin and music are synonymous; they serve the same purpose. Sonny is then able to replace his heroin use with music, a better way to express and reassure himself. "I simply couldn't see why on earth he'd want to spend his time hanging around nightclubs, clowning around on bandstands, while people pushed each other around a dance floor." (Baldwin 22) Music transforms Sonny into a determined dreamer and ultimately leads to the accomplishment of his goals. Through his compassion of music, Sonny finds the confidence to overcome his obstacles and learns to succeed despite his socioeconomic status and previous mistakes. Brother Sonny's brother, the narrator of the story, initially misunderstands Sonny because of his dream; however, through music, he eventually accepts and builds a stronger relationship with his brother. THE END! Thanks for watching.
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