Story is based on common themes that explores suffering experienced by a black family predominantly two brothers as they struggle through individualism, lack education, drug addiction and imprisonment. It describes the struggle of two brothers separated and caught in the entanglements of time, space, and ideals. The narrator explains how Harlem was a very ruff neighborhood to live in and to raise a family, due to the environment he was living in Sonny lacked education and begin to do drugs but uses jazz music as an outlet.
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This piece of literature introduces suffering experienced by a black family predominantly two brothers which is analyzed in the story.
Nevertheless, many critical views argue that Baldwin has figuratively used the blues in development of his narrative. The themes have been brought out in the narrative as bebop. Baldwin may have used the element of the blues to emphasize the essence of togetherness in the society. Therefore, it would be correct to argue that Baldwin uses the blues idea in his work because of the structure, the content, the discussion of the theme of individualism and the use of jazz reference in the final section of the story.
The setting in this story is one many can relate to, riding home on a train, bus, taxi cab or even walking home reading the newspaper only to discover a situation or tragedy hit home. I stared at it in the swinging lights of the subway car, and in the faces and bodies of the people, and on my own face, trapped in the darkness which roared outside. (Baldwin 251) It puts you in a place of discomfort and a feeling of unease. The narrator experiences combat fatigue hearing the news of his baby brother by the name of Sonny being arrested for using and selling drugs in the street of Harlem. This man was so afraid for his brother that he barely could keep it together while teaching his math class. A great block of ice got settled in my belly and kept melting there slowly all day long, while I taught my classes algebra. (Baldwin 251) The narrator was overwhelmed by the news that he had read in the newsprint this was too much for him to receive into his spirit early in the morning, I was in disbelief he couldn’t digest what was going on mentally. This incident reminds the narrator of growing up with his brother in Harlem and how things were on the streets and in their own neighborhood.
Based on the structure of the narrative, it is apparent that the Baldwin uses the format of blues music in the discussion of his themes. They were filled will rage (Baldwin 257). The blues are associated with low spirits which have been clearly brought outB in Baldwin’s story.
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