Writers often use music to emphasize the main themes in stories. Music is the central focus of Sonny’s life in the Sonny’s Blues according to James Baldwin. Sonny suffers a lot as he grows because he is black. During the time, racism was at it’s the peak in the society and the blacks are discriminated against as they are not viewed as equal human beings as other races. The blacks feel lonely and rarely have people who can understand them and they are alienated from the rest. To get a distraction from his suffering, Sonny plays music. This shows that music can be used to connect with other people and reduce the suffering one gets from feeling unloved and lonely. In the story, the narrator does not think that music is vital in any way. He does not understand jazz or blues simply for lack of interest. However, he is able to connect with Sonny by observing how deeply he is attached to music. Music bridges the gap between the narrator and Sonny and they are able to relate better. Through this, Sonny is relieved that someone understands him and this eases his suffering.
The narrator also suffers from the death of his daughter but he finds solace and comfort in music. The music played by Sonny illuminates the true feeling of suffering which is common for the narrator and Sonny although they suffer for different reasons. The narrator sees that music is like a miracle to Sonny and it matters a lot to him. Sonny is able to express his feelings through music and the narrator learns that music is a great way of expressing one’s feelings. Those people who are suffering from feeling of isolation and loneliness seek consolation from music.
Sonny and his brother cannot communicate but through music, they are able to understand each other. The oppression that they undergo as a result of the racial discrimination in the society makes them develop varying ways of dealing with the pain. Their varying perspectives on life make it hard for them to understand each other. Despite their varying emotional language, Sonny is able to understand his brother through the music he plays. The narrator, who is Sonny’s brother adapts to the American way of life despite the pressure. On the other hand, Sonny feels that he needs to find a way to ease the emotional pain caused by the racial discrimination. He gets his consolation in music.
Music can be used to influence others to do things that they otherwise would not. In the story, the narrator had the hope of being a good musician one day but lacked the resources to train acquire the necessary training. His brother acts as his caretaker and requests him to live with a different family but Sonny does not want to go there. However, he agrees to his brother’s request because there is a piano house where he is requested to go live in. he has hope that one day he will be a good musician thus obeys his brother. James Baldwin shows the importance of music in shaping one’s focus in life. After Sonny moves to live with Isabel’s family, he is frustrated because he realizes that his efforts to be a great musician may not bear fruits. The disappointment he gets makes him run away from the Isabel’s home and live with his brother. He then starts abusing drugs and is later sent to prison. Despite all this, he is still focused on music and works hard to develop himself as a great musician. He is more focused on music that he does not even need the drugs. He is able to fight the addiction by focusing his attention on music. By taking drugs, Sonny cannot end his suffering but through music, he is able to overcome it. He expresses himself better, a fact that eases his suffering.
One can influence other easily through music. The narrator changed his attitude by observing the way Sonny has the tenacity and willingness to struggle to ease his pain. Soon, the narrator learns to appreciate himself better and the relationship with Sonny as well. Music made the narrator understand his brother and unlike in the past where he did not believe in his ability to be a musician, he now sees him as a real musician. Music is therefore very vital in enabling one to express their feelings. Music bridges the gap between people from all occupations with varying ideologies. Through it, they are able to understand one another thus their relationship is enhanced. It is through music that individuals are able to overcome their suffering and pain and it can be used as a way of fighting addiction to other things such as drugs. Music also enhances one’s focus in life as it is portrayed by the way Sonny is focused in music even after being imprisoned.