Identity In Sonny's Blues By James Baldwin

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Although Sonny and the narrator are brothers by birth, they do not feel a connection one would expect brothers to have. They seem distant acquaintances, not knowing much about each other nor trying to understand and accept the other. Here, brother seems more similar to the slang term used in the African American community. It can be used to address anyone in the community, without being necessarily actually related. An example may be the old-fashioned revival meeting outside the narrator’s housing project home, “carried on by three sisters in black, and a brother”(14). These street preachers are not physically related, but rather by their common unconscious, a sum of the struggles they all face, allowing them to relate and empathize with one another even unconsciously. However, the narrator looks down upon those surrounding…show more content…
Community shapes identity. And here, the narrator has lost his identity by distancing himself from his peers, thus his lack of a name for the duration of the story. His refusal to come to terms with the common unconscious, the unconscious sharing of memories amongst his community, has played a large role his inability to relate or empathize with those around him. Sonny’s blues help the narrator reconcile with his heritage and community. Music is a universal language filled with emotion that can be felt by all, surpassing the constraints and boundaries of poverty to racial differences and prejudices. From the

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