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Sonnys Blues is a short story by James Baldwin Its about a boys growth to adulthood in a Harlem ghetto His name is Sonny He is sentenced to a government institution do to his selling and using of heroin Sonny moved in with his brother who he has not seen in 5 years Sonnys brother the narrator of the story is 8 years older than Sonny is He is married and teaches algebra in New York City Sonnys brother wants to stay away from Harlem and its people The symbolic significance of Sonnys name is that the character of Sonny represents bebop in both its positive and negative aspects The meaning of Sonnys Blues is not the transcendence of the human condition through art but is instead about sadness and joy Bebop was first introduced in the early nineteen hundreds It became very controversial at a time when jazz was gaining respectability While jazz encouraged people to dance and have a good time bebop told them to do something totally different The bebop style is full of emotions that were often dark sad and brooding Very rarely did bebop make someone feel happiness and joy Sonny like many bebop figures of his time used heroin to suppress his emotions Maybe thats why he is such a good representation of bebop He used drugs to comfort himself and turned to heroin when he needed a fix Drugs and heroin played a major roll in Sonnys life They got him incarcerated and virtually ruined his life He needed a place 2 to lean a clear space to listen and he couldnt find it he did terrible things to himself Literature and Society 99 Many of bebops central figures like Charlie Parker Miles Davis and many others important bebop innovators suffered from addictions to drugs heroin was the most common drug in the jazz word In fact bebop and heroin were virtually synonymous Short
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