Essays on Sonny's Blues

Sonny's Blues
Original title Sonny's Blues
Published 1957
ISBN 679744736
Book Summary
Essay Examples

Table of Contents

About Sonny’s Blues Book

Sonny’s blues is a short story written by writer and activist James Authur Baldwin in 1957. It was published in a politics and literature magazine called Partisan Review. The book later saw its second publication in Baldwin’s short story collection “Going to Meet the Man” after eight years.

The short story narrates the story of a young jazz musician heroin addict named Sonny from Harlem, NY, who gets arrested for selling and using drugs and returns to his neighborhood after he was released from prison.

The story was narrated through the protagonist’s brother, a black algebra teacher in Harlem. A student writing a Sonny’s Blues essay must depict how the story portrays anti-Black racism in the United States, criminal justice, drug addiction, family, white supremacy, and sexuality. While the theme of the book focuses on the sufferings of black people in America.

The book has inspired many literary works throughout the year. In 2002 it was adapted into a short film of the same title.

 Sonny’s Blues Summary

Sonny’s blues is a short story written in the first-person singular narrative style. It started with a narrator reading about a drug bust arrest of his brother Sonny in a newspaper. He continues his day as an algebra teacher at a high school in Harlem, but this bad news causes him to think back to their childhood.

The narrator was confused the whole day; he couldn’t concentrate as he tried to teach his students, and he couldn’t help but worry about the fate of his brother and the boys in his class. Later that day, he met Sonny’s friend, who was a heroin addict. He tells the narrator about his feelings about using heroin, which makes him more frustrated and angry.

After the death of the narrator’s daughter, he contacted Sonny in prison. He replied that he would have contacted him long ago, but he figured he had caused enough pain. An essay on Sonny’s Blues must portray Sonny’s life after prison, when he returned to his childhood neighborhood and moved in with the narrator’s family, and his redemption.

Sonny’s Blues Quotes

Here are some quotes from Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin.

  •     “He and Sonny hadn’t ever got on too well. And this was partly because Sonny was the apple of his father’s eye. It was because he loved Sonny so much and was frightened for him that he was always fighting for him.”
  •     “I couldn’t believe it: but what I mean by that is that I couldn’t find any room for it anywhere inside me. I had kept it outside me for a long time. I hadn’t wanted to know.”
  •     “I’d never played the role of older brother quite so seriously before, had scarcely ever . . . I sensed myself in the presence of something I didn’t know how to handle, didn’t understand.”
  •     “The beat-looking grass lying around isn’t enough to make their lives green, the hedges will never hold out the streets, and they know it.”
  •     “For, while the tale of how we suffer, how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it must always be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell; it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.”


Essay Structure on Sonny’s Blues

An essay is a short piece of writing on a particular subject or topic that outlines the writer’s perspective regarding the issue. It is a typical academic work in high school and college used to determine students’ critical thinking ability.

An Essay can be given as an assignment or as part of admission requirements into a college. It is a type of academic work a student will likely encounter many times. As part of an educational curriculum, students must possess good writing skills. Essay writing follows a structure that divides it into three parts, the introduction, body of the essay, and conclusion. 


The first stage of essay writing is known as the introduction. This section provides the reader with a summary of the writer’s idea. It contains brief information about the paperwork that best describes and gives the reader an insight into the whole essay in a few sentences.

An introduction must contain an opening hook that grabs the author’s attention and a thesis statement that can be written as a question.


These are paragraphs following the introduction. A concise detail of your work and complete expression of your ideas. Without holding anything back, the body of your essay must cover all the necessary information as required in the essay prompt. The body of your essay is the sequential arrangement of your points.


A closing statement will beautify your work, so your essay must not be left open. The concluding paragraph must be different from the body. It is a paragraph that gives a recap of your writing and creates a bond that binds all your points together. This summarizes your issues concerning the title and thesis statement.

Tips to Consider While Writing An essay about Sonny’s Blues

An essay writing can be the most personal data regarding academic work as it reveals who you are, your passions, skill sets, and your perspectives. There are steps to follow if you must write a great essay. These things need to be clearly and easily understood in your text. Here are some tips to consider while writing an essay about Sonny’s Blues.


Read The Book Thoroughly

This is a vital aspect of any writing. Essay writing starts from understanding the question you are being asked and the material necessary to answer the question. The major material here is the book, which is what the essay is about. It is essential to understand the book before an essay can be written on it.

Read the book thoroughly to understand the author’s message. You can also read summaries, reviews, or essay samples written in the book. If you can’t get a hold of the book, you may download the pdf format for easy access.

 Find A Compelling Topic

This is a general description of your paper in a few words. It is a combination of words that will best describe your argument. Your topic must not be too wordy and must give meaning to your essay writing.

A compelling topic will give the reader an insight into what your write-up is about. Finding a topic for your essay must be done after you’ve understood what you want to write about. Your essay title must be able to summarize your essay briefly.

Create the Outline

This is the stage where you put your writing into order. This must be carried out before writing. Thus is the arrangement of your thoughts and ideas in sequential order. Generate subtopics from the title you created and further outline some sub-points from them.

Outline the numbers of paragraphs you want your essay to have and the points you need each to discuss. An outline is an essential tool that will serve as a guide as you write your essay.

 Write The Thesis Statement

This contains a few words that express the meaning of your work. It serves as a concise summary of your main point. The thesis statement should be short enough to communicate the value and importance of your essay. Since this forms the basis of your essay, your thesis statement must be placed towards the end of your introduction.

 Include A Lesson or Moral

Why include a Moral? Do you want the reader to see from your point of view, or do you want to voice your opinion? A moral will help you do that. It is the knowledge between good and bad and right and wrong.

This will show the reader you understand the assignment given. It reveals how you interpret the book. Also, this section indicates your opinion on the author’s message, where you agree or disagree.

 Conclusion: Proofread Your Work

The last stage of essay writing is proofreading. You don’t want to submit an essay filled with errors; get your pen ready. There is a chance of making a few mistakes while writing your essay. After finishing your paper, give it some time and come back. Read it aloud to spot any incorrect sentences.

Examine the structure of your write-up, make sure your entire work provides a response that relates to the question you are being asked, ensure the paragraphs are arranged logically, and correct wrong spellings.

Our expert writers are readily available to help you out with essays on Sonny’s Blues that are unique and well-written.


Q: What is a good thesis statement for Sonny’s blues?

A: “Sonny’s Blues” states that “the most important relationships in our lives thrive if each person allows the other to grow in their way and follow the desires they have in their heart.”


Q: What does Sonny’s blues teach us?

A: The book’s central theme is the suffering of black people in America in the 1950s. The narrator finally understands the suffering of his brother and how he dealt with it. He teaches us redemption and overcoming obstacles


Q: What is the significance of the title Sonny’s blues?

A: Sonny’s Blues means the sadness and sorrow in Sonny’s life. The narrator said, “he has had the blues since childhood. He has the blues from trying to escape his childhood, from being frustrated as a musician”.

The story is about the sadness Sonny must battle as he struggles to recover from drug addiction; about his sadness.


Q: What is the most crucial symbol in Sonny’s blues?

A: The main symbol of “Sonny’s Blues” is suffering. Also, in the book are:

  •     Darkness and light
  •     Music
  •     Ice
  •     Pain, passing it on, and growing from it
  •     Absence
We've found 3 essay samples about Sonny's Blues
1 of 1
Live chat  with support 24/7