How did Sonny's music affect him and how did he make it his own?

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kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sonny's music was very important to him!  The music was a passion for Sonny, first of all.  He adored it and it served many purposes for him.  Sonny has never tried to assimilate into the "white man's world" as his brother, the narrator did, so to cope with his immense suffering, he uses music.  The music is something positive and wonderful for Sonny and it is his way of making a contribution to the world he lives in.  He is especially connected to be-bop and bluesy-jazz, more than likely because it reflects some of his life experiences and because this type of music connect on a spiritual level for hi since its roots are African-American.  He is able to stay grounded in his heritage through his music:

The catharsis Baldwin grants both the reader and the narrator is seeing Sonny find a way to defuse his suffering. In this catharsis, the reader also watches Sonny's own catharsis, as he uses his music as an outlet for his blues. (eNotes)