GradeSaver, 19 May 2015 Web. Although this may seem like a resolution, Sonny and the narrator are both forced to face some difficult things about themselves and about their relationship with each other when they're living under the same roof. Other writers who have incorporated meditations on African American music into their work include Ishmael Reed, Langston Hughes, Albert Murray, Jean Toomer, and even Jack Kerouac. Throughout the story he struggles to communicate with a brother who refuses to hear him. Baldwin uses frightening language and imagery to explain the forces that drive young black men to drugs and crime, suggesting the inevitability of such lives because of the lack of other possibilities.
This image is borrowed from the Bible, where the cup of trembling is used as a symbol to describe the suffering and fear that have plagued the people. The man tells the narrator not to worry about Sonny, that maybe he would write to him, but the narrator makes no similar promise. The narrator also has access to Sonny's things because his room is right there, so he finds himself struggling over whether or not to trust Sonny, whether or not he should search his room, and whether or not Sonny has recovered. It's Saturday and the narrator is home alone. Then he tells the narrator that he thinks he might have had something to do with Sonny's drug habit.
It seems Sonny's friend never gave him any drugs, but when he was high at school one day, Sonny asked him how it felt to shoot heroin. As a musician, Sonny takes all his suffering and that of those around him and transforms it into something beautiful. And you know that feeling, right? The narrator reminisces about the brothers' past. One of them, a fiddle-player named , seems particularly proud of Sonny and happy to see the narrator supporting him. The narrator tries to frame his statement as a concern that Sonny will die using drugs to try not to suffer, but it falls flat. However, the narrator scrutinizes Sonny for signs of heroin addiction. At the end of their conversation, he gives him five dollars.
The more we begin to feel while reading the story, the better we realize the actions of a protagonist and not only. Suffering allows an individual to understand the suffering of another, creating true compassion and humanizing the other. . With the narrator finally able to empathize and listen, Sonny can confess his worst memories and fears. Isabel, who rushed to her side as she died, is permanently traumatized. The fact that the glass is filled with scotch and milk only further highlights the tension and duality Sonny faces.
The idea of brotherly love extends beyond the relationship between the narrator and Sonny into the community as a whole. At 19, Baldwin began devoting himself seriously to writing, publishing essays and short stories whose success led him to move to Paris in 1948 on a fellowship. He is a troubled, nameless soul whose brief presence in the story speaks for the countless young men in Harlem who struggle with a drug addiction. As the narrator is going down the stairs he hears someone laughing at him. When classes finally let out, he decides he should probably get home and talk to his wife, Isabel, about Sonny.
Sonny explains that heroin can make a person feel in control, and that if a musician thinks he needs that feeling, then he needs it. Everyone at the club knows and respects Sonny well. At the end of the day he is met at the gate of the school by an old friend of his brother, ; the man is a fellow addict. He suggests that family obligations, when met with real compassion, are mutually rewarding. Sonny attempts to explain his passion for music, but the narrator is unable to listen, thinking jazz music is beneath his brother. The narrator flags down one of the waitresses and orders drinks for the musicians. The story, like the characters in it, literally struggles under the weight of so much pressure.
He muses that people might as well do something bad, to create a reason for the suffering. Like the figures from the Bible, Sonny is moving toward salvation, but his fate remains uncertain. The main factors that make up this story is suffering, the overall theme of darkness, and the meaning of the music. Mother - The mother of Sonny and the narrator. When Sonny is in high school he turns to drugs because he feels trapped in Harlem, trapped in school, and trapped by what he's supposed to do versus what he wants to do. But he sees a young man who looks so much like Sonny that he starts to call out to his brother until he realizes that it's an old friend of Sonny's someone the narrator never really liked.
Light represents all of the positive and hopeful elements that are a part of life. What do these symbols implicate in this story? Kind and loving, she has spent much of her life trying to protect her family from the darkness of the world. The tone is melancholy and reminiscent. Like Cain, the narrator turns his back on his brother and fails, at first, to respond to Sonny when he is prison. The major conflict for Sonny is heroin addiction and constant suffering, he does not have enough willingness, inner power and self-control to live better, not only for the sale of himself but also for the sake of his family and people who really care about him. But then the narrator's little daughter dies, so he writes Sonny to let him know. The projects symbolize a perversion of the real world, one in which good ideas are actually living nightmares.