“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin
The power of our unconscious beliefs plays a great role in our lives. Life occurs exactly how we order it. Our words, thoughts, actions and beliefs are all working together to order up the results we are creating. We have the power of creating the life we want, instead of getting what we think we deserve. It is the matter of facing our unconscious mind and bringing all our problems, fears and real desires up. It is extremely difficult if not impossible, but it is very important to face our fears and be honest with ourselves. When trying to be aware of the unconscious we may not want to admit the bitter truths we may find. “ When an individual makes an attempt to see his shadow, he becomes aware of (and often ashamed of) those qualities and impulses he denies in himself but can plainly see in other people […]” (von Franz 174). And indeed many times I find myself thinking about somebody’s negative features and then realizing that I have the same or similar problems. “[The shadow] is exactly like any human being with whom one has to get along, sometimes by giving in, sometimes by resisting, sometimes by giving love--whatever the situation requires. The shadow becomes hostile only when he is ignored or misunderstood” (von Franz 182). We have to try to bring our unconscious to conscious by letting it loose or holding it back when necessary, by loving our shadow or by fighting it when needed. In James Baldwin’s “Sony’s Blues” the personal shadow and the unconscious mind is being ignored by the narrator, Sonny’s brother and this unawareness causes many conflicts between the two brothers.
The scene takes place in 1950s in Harlem, New York. The story is not an easy story to read, one of the reasons is that it is about human suffering. Every character in “Sonny’s Blues” suffers in some way- from grief, from addiction, from poverty, from limited opportunities in life, from racism. Suffering is expressed in many ways...