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Sonny's Blues Essays and Research Papers

Instructions for Sonny's Blues College Essay Examples

Title: analysis of Sonny's Blues

Total Pages: 5 Words: 1565 References: 5 Citation Style: APA Document Type: Essay

Essay Instructions: I need an analytical essay of "sonny's Blues" . Not sure how to word it but the topic can be about how sonny's background helps you to understand his struggle. Or just a character analysis on sonny...

• Paper should be primarily analytical, not research or personal, etc. They should mainly consist of your ideas about the story itself as well as support from the story (details, quotations, etc). Not more than 20% of the paper should be material from outside sources
• Paper must show how the material from research is related to the story.
• Paper must have a focused thesis and quotes from the story that supports your argument/ideas

Excerpt From Essay:

Title: Unit 7

Total Pages: 2 Words: 899 Works Cited: 0 Citation Style: MLA Document Type: Research Paper

Essay Instructions: Choose one topic from topics 1-3 (topics on "The Guest") and write a response. And choose another topic from topics 4-6 (topics on "Sonny's Blues") and write your second response. your postings definitely have to cover two texts. Each response has to be a paragraph of about 300 words or more.

In your response, you are required to incorporate solid textual evidence (quotations) to support your ideas. If you fail to demonstrate your familiarity with both stories, your grade will not be higher than C.

(2 pages for 2 questions)


.For this topic, please find quotations from Camus's text and examine the symbolic meanings embodied in the title "The Guest." Make sure you read the Lecture Notes so that you can produce an answer that reflects Camus's philosophical thinking.

Here are a few questions for you to think about:

1. Why is the story called "The Guest"? (Does the title share a similarity with Camus's most famous novel The Stranger?) How does this title comment on the French colonial history in Algeria and on human existence in general?

2. Who is the host, Daru or the Arab? Why does Balducci have a different attitude than Daru toward the Arab Prisoner? How does the arab show that he shares Daru's respect for the ancient rule of hospitality--that a quest is never to be harmed?

3. At one point in the story, Daru feels an inking of brotherhood with the Arab. What is the occasion? How does this occasion set a stark contrast to the overall aura of the story?

You do NOT have to answer all the questions. In your answer, make sure to incorporate quotations to substantiate your argument. Your posting needs to be a paragraph of 250 words.


For this topic, you have to examine how the narrator presents Algerian landscape, Daru, the Arab, and the entire story.

Here are the questions you can think about:

1. In the story, there are presences of a limited omniscient narrator and an omniscient narrator. What do they do respectively and/or collectively? For instance, an omniscient narrator lays out the landscape, the weather, the subtle action in minute detail. But when it comes to the internal world of others, the narration becomes a limited third-person point of view. What is the effect of such "limits"? What really happens? Does anything happen during the course of the story? If you wanted to make a film out of this story, how would you make this film, especially given the scarcity of action and climax?

2. How and why does Camus give such a minute description of the landscape? Why has Daru drawn the four rivers of France on the blackboard of his Algerian classroom? Why does his action turn out to have ironic implications at the end of the story?

3. How does the scorched landscape of the story contribute to its theme? What is the story's theme?

You do NOT have to answer all the questions. Just remember to incorporate quotations in your posting and your posting should be a paragraph of 250 words or more.


This topic invites you to engage in philosophical contemplations on Camus's story. First, read the Lecture Notes on the *very* brief introduction to the concepts of existentialism and absurdity. If you are already familiar with these concepts, then you can use your understanding of existentialism, absurdity, and the myth of Sisyphus in your answer. However, in your posting, you should focus on the story of "The Guest" and choose important quotations to demonstrate how Camus uses his fiction as platform for his philosophical treatise.

For instance, what crime did the Arab commit? Why doesn't he tell Daru he is sorry for what he has done? Why does Daru let the Arab go free? Then why does the Arab choose to go to the police station? How does the ending address the philosophy of "absurdity"?

In your answer, you should really make sure you tease out the details in Camus's text since he really uses fiction to write his philosophy. Therefore, you also need to have concrete quotations from the text to substantiate your argument.


For this topic, you need to examine how Baldwin portrays the neighborhood of Harlem, or analyze the symbolic meanings embodied in Baldwin's choices of settings. The setting of a story can refers to both the time (historical and also time of day or year) and the place (geographical, as in New York, Harlem, Greenwich Village, and also local, as in setting certain scenes in subways, apartments, dark roads, etc.) in which the actions of the story occur. How do Baldwin's choices about setting help you understand the theme or meaning of the story?

You can examine how different characters have different relations with the neighborhood, the reason why Sonny wants to move away from Harlem to Greenwich village, and why Sonny even has to join the navy in order to escape the suffocating sense of familiarity. And how does the experience of growing up in Harlem have an impact to the narrator's "world view," and Sonny's conceptualization of music? Why does he want to go to India? (For instance, the Beatles, John Coltrane, and others all experienced longing for India.) Why does the narrator say his father and Sonny are persons of "privacy"? What does privacy mean here? Also, how does the neighborhood reinforce the feeling of "isolation" felt by the narrator and Sonny? How would you describe the interaction between the narrator and Sonny's friend at the very beginning of the story?

You do NOT have answer all the questions. You can also post a response not mentioned in the questions, but relevant to the topic-- as long as your response includes textual evidence (quotations) from "Sonny's Blues." Your posting should be a paragraph of 250 words.


For this topic, every participant has to present a quotation from "Sonny's Blues" that contains the word "darkness." (You are NOT allowed to repeat the same quotation and therefore, you really have to read the postings of the previous respondents!). After you choose your quote, you should analyze the meaning of "darkness" in the quotation you choose. For instance, how does the contrast of darkness and light help create a particular atmosphere for the story-telling?

Your posting should be a paragraph of 250 words. If you choose a long quotation, your analysis should also be longer. If your analysis only comes to 100 words for instance, you will not receive any credit for your posting. Try to exhaust the meaning of "darkness" in Baldwin's text


For this topic, I want you to examine how Baldwin connects racial history and music together in "Sonny's Blues."

Here are some suggestions for you to think about first:

1. Discuss Baldwin’s comment on the blues Sonny plays with Creole and the two other musicians at the end of the story:

"Creole began to tell us what the blues were all about. They were not about anything very new. He and his boys up there were keeping it new, at the risk of ruin, destruction, madness, and death, in order to find new ways to make us listen. For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness" (106).

Baldwin’s subject is the music, of course, but he is also talking about other forms of creation. What might they be?

2.Why does Sonny adore Charlie Parker instead of Louis Armstrong? How does Sonny's preference reflect upon the cultural climate for black intellectuals at that time?

3. How does the story end? How does the ending change the entire feel of the story? What is the relationship between music, drug addiction, and racism? Consider carefully the narrator's language in the climactic scene, when Sonny plays the piano. What elements of style can you identify here, and what is their effect? What is the nature of the epiphany the narrator experiences here, and how does it connect with episodes recounted earlier in the story -- e.g. the mother's story of the father and his brother?

4.What statement does the story make about the relationship of art to life or about the relationship of art to suffering?

5. How can "the blues" become more than an individual expression but also a communal statement?

6. What is the "cup of trembling" referred to in the last line? How does this Biblical allusion work to help the reader understand what will or has happened to Sonny, his brother, their family and their community?

This is a topic that welcomes creativity. But be sure to use quotations from Baldwin's story to illuminate your point. Make sure that your posting is a paragraph of 250 words or more.

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Excerpt From Essay:

Title: Them in sonny's blues by james baldwin

Total Pages: 3 Words: 913 Bibliography: 2 Citation Style: APA Document Type: Essay

Essay Instructions: Come up with a theme for the short story sonny's blues and analyze the theme. I need two sources. One can be a quote from the short story and the other from a different source. The source has to be an annotated bibliography.

Excerpt From Essay:

Title: brotherhood in Sonny's Blue by James Baldwin

Total Pages: 4 Words: 1160 Sources: 1 Citation Style: MLA Document Type: Research Paper

Essay Instructions: I would like to get a FORAMLIST ANALYSIS of the story "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin.

My thesis statement is: " The author has used characterization, the settting of the story and the symbolism/imagery to show that brotherly love can prevail over the tragedies, suffereing and conflicts between the siblings.

I want my essay to talk about the main characters ,setting, symbolism or imagery. You can manipulate my thesis if you would like, however it has to do something with LIVING WITHIN THE FAMILIES (thats the main topic we are covering in class. So, the thesis could be sisbling in conflict, brotherhood, suffering due to a brother...something around those lines.

And I want the quotations from the actual story to support the point of view with the in text ciataion mentioning the line number, not the par number). for example: Sonny's brother was shocked to read the news in the newspaper. "I [he] couldn't beleive it" (Baldwin 20).

this essay is for general audience.

Excerpt From Essay:

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