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Explain the significance of the statement "Now these are Sonny's Blues" and...

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runningforever17 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 18, 2007 at 7:42 AM via web

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Explain the significance of the statement "Now these are Sonny's Blues" and how he make the music his own?

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted September 18, 2007 at 8:18 AM (Answer #1)

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Sonny uses the blues to soothe the suffering he feels.  Sonny feels the harshness of growing up in Harlem more intensely than his brother does. For the most part, Sonny's pain comes from the temptations in the streets of Harlem, the limited economic opportunities he has, and learning how his uncle died. At first, Sonny uses heroin to soothe his pain and gets sent to prison for using and selling it. His brother, the narrator of the story, has internalized the suffering he grew up with. Until the end of the story, the narrator doesn't understand why Sonny plays jazz or what the music does for him. The music offers Sonny freedom from his pain and suffering. When the narrator goes to hear Sonny play, he realizes that "he could help us to be free if we would just listen, that he would never be free until we did. I heard what he had gone through, and would continue to go through until he came to rest in earth." Because Sonny is able to put his own pain and suffering into the music, the audience can feel the pain and suffering. Sonny makes it his own when he personalizes it. The narrator finally realizes the darkness that consumes his brother and appreciates the music Sonny plays to calm his suffering.

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kimberelly | Student , Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted January 20, 2008 at 11:49 PM (Answer #2)

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It seems that the reason that they are “Sonny’s blues” is because Sonny has taken his pain and suffering and expressed it through the music he plays – he has made the music his own story that reveals his inner most aches. He can express the magnitude and depth of his feelings through the notes and chords he chooses, the structure of the song (whether it is light-hearted or dark) and the intensity of his playing.

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kimberelly | Student , Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted January 21, 2008 at 12:20 AM (Answer #3)

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It seems that the reason that they are “Sonny’s blues” is because Sonny has taken his pain and suffering and expressed it through the music he plays – he has made the music his own story that reveals his inner most aches. He can express the magnitude and depth of his feelings through the notes and chords he chooses, the structure of the song (whether it is light-hearted or dark) and the intensity of his playing.

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