This annotated bibliography is designed to give readers an understanding of how "Sonny's Blues," by James Baldwin is a modernization of the biblical account of Cain and Abel. While the text of "Sonny's Blues" doesn't align with the story of Cain and Abel verbatim, the underlying theme of being a "brother's keeper" is central to both stories. I set out to identify the various elements involved in being a "brother's keeper". After reading the biblical account of Cain and Abel, two sub-themes came to the forefront; self-identity and responsibility. I selected the sources listed below to highlight the ways Baldwin uses the themes of identity and responsibility, and other literary mechanisms to connect "Sonny's Blues" to the biblical account of Cain and Abel.
Byerman discusses how music and words create ambiguity in "Sonny's Blues." He points out the rhythm of the wording in the text and how the narrator uses the words to communicate his ideas and as a defense mechanism when his reality is too harsh to handle. The narrator's candid wording at times draws the reader in with understanding and intrigue. Yet, his vacillating uses of metaphors seem to.
shut the reader out when the details become too sensitive. Just as the narrator uses words to present his case to the reader, Sonny uses music to do the same.
Mosher's piece discusses the significance of Baldwin's allusion to the biblical text, Isaiah 51:17-22, in the final scene of "Sonny's Blue's." As the author inserts the phrase, "the cup of trembling.", He uses it as a metaphor to signal both the relief and salvation of the two main characters. Mohsher's assertions give credence to the common thread that both the biblical account of Cain and Abel and "Sonny's Blues" share. While Mosher's writing primarily focuses on the.
symbolism of "the cup of trembling", a deeper look at it's meaning highlights the characters' fulfillment of being a brother's keeper.