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

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In James Baldwin's story Sonny's Blues , an unnamed narrator describes the evolution of his understanding of his younger brother Sonny, a jazz pianist who has struggled with heroin addiction. The narrator, a married algebra teacher in Harlem in the 1950s, has a relatively stable working or middle-class life...

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In James Baldwin's story Sonny's Blues, an unnamed narrator describes the evolution of his understanding of his younger brother Sonny, a jazz pianist who has struggled with heroin addiction. The narrator, a married algebra teacher in Harlem in the 1950s, has a relatively stable working or middle-class life compared to his musician brother. During the course of the story, the narrator learns the importance of listening to his brother, a process which culminates in his finally attending one of Sonny's jazz performances.

Though Sonny plays jazz, specifically the bebop style exemplified by Charlie Parker, the narrator's newfound understanding of his brother is marked by his identification of "Sonny's blues." The significance of the blues to the African-American experience transcends the particular musical genre. In a crucial scene in the story, the narrator and Sonny hear a group of "revival singers" in the street. The singers sing of being rescued and the narrator observes that the singing soothes even though none of the singers are likely to be rescued.

Sonny tells the narrator that one of the singers' voices reminds him of "the way heroin feels." When the narrator pushes Sonny on why he's used heroin, Sonny answers that no one—and specifically not African-Americans—can avoid suffering, so the impulse toward self-destructive heroin use at least allows him to be the cause or agent of his own suffering.

When the narrator listens to Sonny play music, he hears in the music the shared history and the shared pain of their family. He finally understands the profundity of Sonny's artistic expression, which channels and exorcizes the pain of his experience—this is "Sonny's blues."

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The narrator and his brother Sonny find themselves in conflict for much of the story. Part of this conflict originates when Sonny is just a kid and shares with his brother that he wants to play jazz. The narrator scoffs at the idea and doesn't understand that Sonny wanted jazz to elevate him out of Harlem and the life of drugs that he believed awaited him. As it turns out, his predictions about aimlessness and drugs were right.

Sonny drifts fairly aimlessly through life, and he and his brother drift away from each other at least in part due to Sonny's addictions. When they come together again in the end, following the death of the narrator's baby daughter, the narrator finally accepts the importance of music in Sonny's life and agrees to go hear him play.

When Sonny takes the stage, a transformation happens. He is able to use the music to begin to tell the pain of his life, and as he does, the other musicians circle around him, backing him up. The emotion that Sonny brings to the music becomes the focal point of the stage, and Sonny is truly alive. The music becomes "Sonny's blues" because he controls the stage, the pace, and the story the music tells. Sonny has controlled very little in his life thus far, and this transformation is empowering.

Sonny makes the music his own by establishing the pace. He isn't rushed. He isn't playing in anger. Instead, he delivers the pain he has lived through as a testament of his survival thus far. His brother understands that Sonny will always bear this burden of pain until he is placed in the earth. And as the narrator listens, he begins to also hear their shared history. He envisions their parents, struggling with their own hardships before the brothers were even born, and he also sees his infant daughter again. Sonny makes the music his own by allowing the grief he feels to wash over everyone who listens, bringing to the audience a common sense of the innate pain in the shared human experience through the music he plays.

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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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