Define 'the blues' as explained by James Baldwin in his essay 'The Uses of the Blues'.The paper is going to make correlations between the above essay and his story "Sonny's Blues."

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

James Baldwin defines "the blues" very poignantly in his essay "The Uses of Blues." Baldwin states in his essay the following:

I am talking about what happens to you if, having barely escaped suicide, death or madness, or yourself, you watch your children growing up and no matter what you do, no matter what you do, you are powerless, you are really powerless, against forces of the world that is out to tell your child that he has no right to be alive.

Here, he is stating the characteristics of those who have "the blues." These people suffer from the fact that some people find themselves in a place where they feel so powerless that they can only fall into a depression, or the blues.

It seems that, in the essay, Baldwin understands the true power that feeling helpless and powerless can have over a person. The blues are more than just a state of mind; they can be both emotional and physically draining on a person. For Baldwin, the blues are a force, almost personified, which can force a person into a place where they feel they have no way of feeling whole and content again.

Along with the immediate feelings of depression, the person would tend to feel as if they deserve the life they are leading. If one has been down for so long they will simply come to believe that the life they are leading is the one they deserve.

studycuddybuddy | Student

Thank you, litnerd! Very late but I wanted you to know your input was appreciated :)

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