Judgement in Sonny’s Blues and Cathredral

Category: Blues, Jazz, Music, Sonnys Blues
Last Updated: 20 Apr 2022
Pages: 3 Views: 467

The short story “Sonny’s Blues” written By James Baldwin is a story of two brothers who come to understand each other. The story begins and takes place in Harlem, New York City, where the narrator, whose name isn’t mentioned at all in the literature, is a teacher at a local high school, as he is on his way to work then reads on a newspaper that his younger brother, Sonny, who he hasn’t seen or spoke to in a while, has been arrested for possession and use of heroin.

Throughout the story, he depicts Sonny as this troubled some young man, who never had any sense of direction towards what he wanted to do with his life or what he wanted to become. He viewed him as a product of the system, because as children growing up; Harlem, was basically a dark whole, full of malice, drugs, and corruption. After his short stint in jail, the narrator then welcomes his younger brother to stay with him and his wife for the time being. While Sonny’s stay at his older brother’s house, he then explains to him his constant struggles in life and why everything was so different for him as he was growing up.

He tells him that no one ever really listened to what he wanted to pursue in life, and how he wanted to be this Jazz musician, but everyone just believed it was a phase. The narrator still didn’t really understand where Sonny was coming from. Until Sonny, one night invited him over to a local jazz bar, where everyone knows and respects him, to go watch him and his buddies play some music. It is then, as Sonny and the band is on stage, he begins to watch his younger brother struggle with the music.

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He watches his entire brother’s struggles come pouring out as he plays, and then he finally realizes who Sonny is and what he’s made of. In the short story, “Cathedral” written by Raymond Carver, similar to “Sonny’s Blues” the narrator of the story’s name isn’t given. The setting takes place in Connecticut, where the death of a blind man’s wife, gets him to visit an old employee of his. The narrator who is the husband of the woman who use to work for the blind man, isn’t fond of him staying at their house.

As the story moves along, the reader can see how the husband is ignorant, in the fact that he frequently keeps stating to himself how he doesn’t understand how someone can fall in love with a person who is blind, until after eating supper and his wife went off upstairs to get dressed. They both sit in the living room, and the husband invites Robert to smoke a joint. While flicking through channels, they finally leave something, they are willing to bare. It’s a show on different types of cathedrals around the world. The husband then asks Robert, if he has any idea or imagination of what an actual cathedral looks like.

Robert says no, and he wants the husband to explain. The narrator has a life-changing moment, while trying to tell Robert what a cathedral looks like. The narrator, as he first trying to explain what the cathedral looks like, struggles for the words. However, upon Robert’s encouragement, the narrator loosens up, when the blind man asks him to go grab a piece of paper and pen so they can both draw this cathedral together. This is a close personal connection and intimate moment of communication for the narrator, and it impacts him greatly.

The narrator is able to connect with Robert, and this is the moment where the narrator can put aside his insecurities and actually interact with someone else. People always have different views on different people, places or things. In my opinion I believe everyone should be open to meeting new people, giving people chances, or even be more open minded to different situations, because you can learn a lot from something or somebody else. For example the understanding of the older brother towards Sonny’s struggles in “Sonny’s Blues” and the connection the narrator in “Cathedral” had with the blind man.

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Judgement in Sonny’s Blues and Cathredral. (2018, Sep 24). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/judgement-in-sonnys-blues-and-cathredral/

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