In which exposes life in many dimensions

In this paper, we are going to talk about life and human nature as seen in “Sonny Blues by James Baldwin” which exposes life in many dimensions like, depression, fighting between good and evil, the importance of communication, and the point of view and theme of the story. Depression is a significant and consequential mood disorder which is commonly experienced by individuals of different age, gender and race. Depression affects one’s feelings, thinking ability, sense of well-being, sleeping order, eating and the ability to perform daily duties even at work. Depression clears out one’s energy, expectation, and motivation making it tough to participate in essential activities to make one feel finer. Depression has no significant cause, but it depends on an individual. Circumstances of life such as isolation and loneliness are a significant cause of depression in adolescents and youths which often leads to different ways as an escape. “I want to do jazz” declares sonny (Baldwin, p8), “but it was as though he were all wrapped up in some cloud, some fire, some vision all his own and there was no way to reach him” (Baldwin, p10).

Sonny is an example when he decides to make jazz music as a way of escaping depression because music is a way of promoting changes, and communicating and sharing one’s feelings and thoughts without the fear of being judged. Fighting between good and evil is an inner battle of making choices of life that can change one’s life in a better way or destroy it. In the course of life, people encounter challenges which make them suffer, and it is the suffering that defines one’s choices by either allowing the pain to consume them or identify them by how they handle the situation. Born and brought up in a neighborhood that has exposure to alcohol and drugs are a significant challenge to Sonny and his brother “safe hell! Ain’t no place safe for kids, nor nobody” grunted sonny’s father whenever their mother tried to suggest moving to a safe neighborhood (Baldwin, p6).

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Sonny decides to leave his neighborhood after being introduced to drugs by his friend. “I never give sonny nothing” confesses Sonny’s friend. He also says that “when I saw the papers this morning, the first thing I asked myself was if I had anything to do with it. I felt sort of responsible” (Baldwin, p2). Sonny hopes that leaving his neighborhood might change the place, but he only comes back only to realize that he is the only one that has changed by growing older but not his community. Communication is a significant factor in life that leads to an easy solution to challenges and also brings understanding between people. Lack of communication can lead to misunderstanding causing stress and depression.

For example, lack of communication between a parent and child can lead to a child feeling neglected, lonely and end up depressed. As seen in sonny’s case and his father, they never got along well because Sonny was his father’s beloved and his father only feared for him but never communicated his feelings or explained his behavior towards his son Sonny which led him to keep everything to himself. “Sonny moves back, inside himself, where he can’t be reached” (Baldwin, p6). Both Sonny and his father shared the same character of keeping their privacy. Sonny’s lack of communication to his brother made him land into use and peddling of drugs which ended up falling him in prison. If he had opened up to his brother on time, he could have been set free from drowning in the blackness of life. The theme of suffering is seen in this paper through sonny’s pain and harm, while the story is narrated in a realistic point of view of the narrator who happens to be sonny’s brother.

The story is told by sonny’s brother who is a teacher and has a family too. Sonny’s brother was the protective type, and he once got angry at Sonny for making blind decisions without considering his advice. From then he chose to move from his neighborhood to a clean place and worked harder by teaching to achieve his goals and live an honest life with his family. The reason for doing so was to forget all about his birthplace and his younger brother Sonny whom he chose to ignore entirely even after suspecting that something was wrong.

It was after reading about Sonny’s arrest due to use and peddling of heroin that, his attitude of not caring changed into a feeling of guilt due to not keeping his mother’s promise of taking care of Sonny. He also chose to forget about the past and accept his brother the way he was, that was after his daughter died and he decided to write a letter to sonny informing him about the death. He felt bad for not figuring his brother’s struggles on time and save him from getting in trouble on time.


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