Personal reflection in relation to Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues
One time when my sibling and I took different perspectives on a significant event was when we disagreed on his independent attitude and desires. Like the narrator in James Baldwin’s story, Sonny’s Blues, I felt a responsibility to care and look out for my younger sibling’s wellbeing. My younger brother seemed to prefer spending time with peers in the neighborhood whom I felt had a negative influence on him. Rather than being close to me and choosing my friends as his, he showed an independent mind concerning the people that he needed to be close to, play with, and influence his life and desires. He chose different interests and hobbies from those I had, such that I felt that I had little control over him and his life as an older sibling. We argued over this as I portrayed his independent attitude as an indication of his unwillingness to love and unite with myself and our family. The issue resolved with time when I learnt to live with his independent mind and choices, leading to less arguments between us.
In retrospect, I have learnt that like the narrator in Baldwin’s story, I adopted a controlling and arrogant attitude in my sense of responsibility towards my younger sibling. I did not take his preferences and desires in life into genuine consideration, thereby failing to respect him as a person and tending to impose on him my ideas about life and the choices that I felt were desirable. This attitude is reflective of Sonny’s situation relative to his brother in Baldwin’s story, as he tells his brother: “I hear you, but you never hear anything I say” (Baldwin 34). I now appreciate the fact that like other human beings, my brother is different from myself in terms of his desires and experiences and interpretations of the society, and that I have to respect this difference between us.
Baldwin, James. “Sonny’s Blues”. In Feinstein, Sascha, and Rife, David. The Jazz Fiction Anthology (pp.17-48). UP, 2009.