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English II (ENC 1102) Sonny's Blues Analysis

Sandra Watson
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Literary Analysis on Sonny’s Blues

Literary Analysis Essay

  • UniversitySeminole State College of Florida
  • CourseEnglish II (ENC 1102)

ENC 1102
30 September 2018
James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” takes place in Harlem, New York City and begins with
an unnamed narrator reading a newspaper article about how his younger brother, Sonny, has
been arrested for using and selling heroin. The narrator does not write to Sonny until his
daughter, Grace, falls ill and passes away. They remain in contact after this, and when Sonny is
released his brother takes him into his family’s home. The narrator has some flashbacks of a
story his mother told him and Sonny dropping out of school to be a jazz musician. In the final
part of the story, the narrator attends one of Sonny’s performances and finally understands his
brother’s love for playing jazz music. Throughout the story, suffering is an ever-present theme.
Suffering often shows itself in horrible ways but, it also can be transformed into something
beautiful like music. This essay will discuss how the devices of narration and setting portray the
theme of suffering and music in this short story.



English II (ENC 1102) Sonny's Blues Analysis

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