A Look at James Baldwin's “Sonny's Blues”
Michael Clark, in a critical analysis essay he wrote on James Baldwin's “Sonny's Blues”, examines the ways in which Baldwin uses images of light and darkness to tell the story of two brother's. Thus, being Sonny and his elder brother. Clark points out in his essay that Sonny finds his life a living hell, yet he knows enough to try and strive for better, for that saving light. He also believes that Sonny sees music as something positive and by not mastering music will result in a downfall in his life. Not only does Clark express his point of view on Sonny and his older brother, he also has the idea that the brothers' father, mother, uncle, and the elder brother's daughter Gracie each represented something greater than themselves. And one imperative thing he realizes is that each brother has been damaged by the actions of life and that they must get through these things to lead a fulfilling life.
Clark expresses in his essay that Sonny finds his life a living hell, yet he knows enough to try and strive for better, for that saving light (30). From my perspective this statement is totally true. Sonny gets mixed up in using heroin. The heroin that Sonny was using and pedaling is what made his life a living hell. When he is writing to his brother in response to the letter that he received about the death of little Gracie, he expresses this. He says that he feels like a man who has been trying to climb out of a real deep and funky hole and he just saw the sun up on the outside. Then he says he's got to get outside. When hell is pictured, one sees a bottomless pit. The usage of drugs and now his placement into the incarceration system is the hell that Sonny is in. Yet when he hears from his brother he feels he has just reached a level in his climb out of despair, where he can see the sunlight. Now he has to get out so he won't go back.
Clark also introduces the idea that Sonny sees music as positive...