The Issue Of Equality And Self Identity In James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”

In “Sonny’s blue”, from the point of view of storyteller, the fiction reveals his observations of the world and his thinking about life by describing Sonny’s experience. Likewise, the fiction depicts 2 very various lives by comparing the various experiences of storyteller and Sonny and the different mindsets towards life. In the fiction, the narrator chose to compromise in order to gain the identity of the mainstream society and accepted the mainstream social worths. And through his own efforts, he has actually lived a steady middle-class life. However, Sonny rebelled through defiant actions such as drug abuse, thus acquiring inner peace. At this time, the 2 bros have extremely various views on life, therefore forming a big difference. Through the short article we can see the process of narrator’s inner struggle, from not comprehending Sonny’s habits to identification. In this paper, I will focus on whether the minority individuals in the United States need to compromise with mainstream worths in the process of gaining mainstream social acknowledgment.

From narrator’s experience, we can see that even if he prospered in getting rid of his own area by his own efforts and lived a stable middle-class life, the problem of identity is still in his heart. In the fiction, he is a highly regarded middle school teacher. In his growing community, he is among the few to get rid of the chaotic environment and changed his own life. At the beginning of the fiction it says that “I was terrified, frightened for Sonny. He became real to me again. An excellent block of ice got settled in my stubborn belly and kept melting there slowly all day, while I taught my classes algebra.” (par.2)

Narrator utilizes “ice” indicates that he has actually been getting away from the reality in the past for very long time which most of the African American still lived in restlessness, loaded with threats and suffering. The long-lasting steady life made him reluctant to face it all, so he frozen all of it like ice and put it in the inmost part of his heart. Faced with the terrific barriers of bad development environment and individual career development, he lastly got rid of his growing environment through his own efforts and self-control, not only in the geographical position, however likewise in the mental aspect. As he explained the young people on the street who looks like Sonny. “even though he was a grown-up male, he still spent time that block, still spent hours on the street corners, was always high and raggy. I used to encounter him from time to time and he ‘d typically work He always had some real great reason, too, and I constantly provided it to him. I don’t know why.” The narrator explains and talks about this young man from the viewpoint of an observer. He does not concern himself as a member of them. At a much deeper level, he was not willing to return to the identity he as soon as tried to get rid of. However, Sonny’s news of being apprehended for substance abuse made him need to go back to the cold reality, which there were still a lot of African American youths were having a hard time to live. He realized that he was among the few African American who could successfully become a middle class. In fact, more African American will be beat by truth and life will fall into darkness. They would break into the bottom of society and live an inferior and miserable life. We can say that his compromise and obedience in order to gain the identity of the mainstream society has actually made him effective. However, it has actually caused the inner heart to fall into a huge contradiction.

Nevertheless, instead of accepting reality by obedience to mainstream society, Sonny selected a completely various path from his brother while facing the difficult life. He picked to fight and go beyond. After the mom’s funeral service, the brothers had their very first formal

conversation. “What do you want to do?” I asked him. “I’m going to be a musician,” he said. “Well, you may think it’s funny now, infant, but it’s not going to be so funny when you have to make your living at it, let me inform you that.” I raged due to the fact that I knew he was making fun of me and I didn’t know why. We can say this interaction is a conversation in between an unskilled teenager and an experienced grownup. This implies the contradiction between ideal and truth. Although his storyteller is very concerned about his bro, he still does not concur with Sonny’s suitables. This is the very first point of dispute that suggests their different mindsets towards life. It seems that Sonny is not understood by others. As storyteller’s wife describe Sonny, “And the noise didn’t make any sense to her, didn’t make any sense to any of them– naturally. They began, in a manner, to be affected by this presence that was residing in their house. It was as though Sonny were some sort of god, or beast. He relocated an atmosphere which wasn’t like theirs at all.” He could not discover somebody in life who could comprehend him and communicate with him. He thought that music was a hope in his life which could take him away from the dog’s life and might let him discover the peace in his inner mind. So, he closed himself in a world of his own to reveal resistance. It likewise suggests that, in the context of the times, numerous dreams as a minority are not recognized by the mainstream society.

After this, Sonny experienced a lot of suffering, such as running away, signing up with the army, taking drugs, being jailed. This makes him more mature and has a deeper understanding of life. The next discussion happened after narrator’s little child passed away. “When she was singing before,” said Sonny, suddenly, “her voice advised me for a minute of what heroin feels like often– when it remains in your veins. It makes you feel sort of warm and cool at the same time and distant.” What Sonny attempting to say was he could feel that female’s pain through her singing, but storyteller thought he

simply made reasons for his drug addiction. He believed everybody worldwide can’t leave suffering. So, we simply need to endure and accept it. Nevertheless, Sonny believed that although individuals could not avoid suffering, we still might attempt our finest to drifting above the sea rather of being sink. (par.197) From this conversation, we can see a big distinction of the attitude of the life in between narrator and Sonny. Storyteller is a passive person, he accepts whatever in life, including suffering and barriers. A huge part of the factor for his passive mindset towards life is the last conversation with his mom. When she told him that some white males who intoxicated badly diminished the hillside on a speeding automobile and killed his uncle. “He states he never ever in his life seen anything as dark as that road after the lights of that vehicle had gone away. Your Daddy never ever did really solve once again. Till the day he died he weren’t sure however That every white male he saw was the male that eliminated his brother. I’m telling you this since you got a brother. And the world ain’t altered.” (par.102) His mom’s words had a huge effect on him. This made him more cautious about the world. He secures himself by jeopardizing the mainstream society. Likewise, he wishes to protect his little sibling in his method which he thinks is correct. As for Sonny, he is a fairly go-getter. He is more ready to make dangers and modifications to see if he can alter the status of existing scenario. He believes that despite the fact that the world doesn’t alter, he can still do something to alter himself. Due to the fact that he thinks the world is there, it is in his mind. That’s quiet a different view of world from his mom and sibling. This is also the core reason for triggering dispute. He hopes that his music can become a catharsis of people’s feelings. Likewise, he wants to awaken his compatriots’ memory of suffering through his music, so that they can look directly into the miseries of life and become strong, instead of ending up being numb.

At the end of the fiction, storyteller listened to Sonny’s music and finally comprehended Sonny, the siblings reached a settlement. He gave a detailed description of Sonny’s performance. Expressing a sense of identity towards African American groups, by describing the popularity of Sonny. At the same time, he found the significance of strength and survival in groups and African American traditional culture. Sonny’s music makes him feel really touched. Sonny’s music awakens the memory of his bro’s past sufferings, which was forgotten because his compromise to mainstream society. When he was listening, he stated “I saw my mother’s face once again, and felt, for the first time, how the Stones of the road she had actually walked on need to have bruised her feet. I saw the Moonlit roadway where my dad’s bro died. And it brought something else Back to me, and carried me past it, I saw my little lady again and felt Isabel’s Tears again, and I felt my own tears begin to rise.” (par.240) This made him feel reconnected with his household and race. Also, it gave him spiritual flexibility and let him return to himself. In the end, the narrator provided a glass of white wine to Sonny to recommend the final reconciliation in between the brothers. The narrator lastly comprehended the suffering of Sonny and his pursuit.

In conclusion, I think as a minority in American. The most crucial thing is keep your identity which in another word keeps who you are. From the fiction we can see that despite the fact that storyteller is recognized by the mainstream society, his inner battle did not make him really delighted. When he finally restored his sense of identity with his own race, his soul has gained great complete satisfaction in the depths. It is so crucial to keep our identity because it might let us understand the meaning of our lives. If you remain in pursuit of mainstream social identity by jeopardizing and desert its own attributes, which will make you lose your cultural roots. Like Sonny, we must keep ourselves and look at our own race and culture in a favorable mindset.