Sonny's Blues Quotes

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Sonny's Blues Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin
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Sonny's Blues Quotes (showing 1-16 of 16)
“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.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“Freedom lurked around us and I understood, at last, that he could help us be free if we would listen, that he would never be free until we did.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“And I was yet aware that this was only a moment, that the world waited outside, as hungry as a tiger, and that trouble stretched above us, longer than the sky.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“I had never before thought of how awful the relationship must be between the musician and his instrument. He has to fill it, this instrument, with the breath of life, his own. He has to make it do what he wants it to do. And a piano is just a piano. It's made out of so much wood and wires and little hammers and big ones, and ivory. While there's only so much you can do with it, the only way to find this out is to try; to try and make it do everything.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“These boys, now, were living as we'd been living then, they were growing up with a rush and their heads bumped abruptly against the low ceiling of their actual possibilities. They were filled with rage. All they really knew were two darknesses, the darkness of their lives, which were now closing in on them, and the darkness of the movies, which had blinded them to that other darkness, and in which they now, vindictively, dreamed, at once more together than they were at any other time, and more alone.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“It doesn't do any good to fight with Sonny. Sonny just moves back, inside himself, where he can't be reached.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“You're getting to be a big boy,' I said desperately, 'it's time you started thinking about your future.'
'I'm thinking about my future,' said Sonny, grimly. 'I think about it all the time.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“All that hatred down there," he said, "all that hatred and misery and love. It's a wonder it doesn't blow the avenue apart.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“Years ago, when he was around fourteen, he'd been all hipped on the idea of going to India. He read books about people sitting on rocks, naked, in all kinds of weather, but mostly bad, naturally, and walking barefoot through hot coals and arriving at wisdom. I used to say that it sounded to me as though they were getting away from wisdom as fast as they could. I think he sort of looked down on me for that.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“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.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“You don't know how much I needed to hear from you. I wanted to write you many a time but I dug how much I must have hurt you and so I didn't write. But now I feel like a man who's been trying to climb up out of some deep, really deep and funky hole and just saw the sun up there, outside. I got to get outside.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“It's terrible sometimes, inside," he said, "that's what's the trouble. You walk these streets, black and funky and cold, and there's not really a living ass to talk to, and there's nothing shaking, and there's no way of getting it out- that storm inside. You can't talk it and you can't make love with it, and when you finally try to get with it and play it, you realize nobody's listening. So you've got to listen. You got to find a way to listen.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“It ain't only the bad ones, nor yet the dumb ones that gets sucked under.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“Some escaped the trap, most didn't. Those who got out always left something of themselves behind, as some animals amputate a leg and leave it in the trap. It might be said, perhaps, that I had escaped, after all, I was a school teacher; or that Sonny had, he hadn't lived in Harlem for years. Yet, as the cab moved uptown through streets which seemed, with a rush, to darken with dark people, and as I covertly studied Sonny's face, it came to me that what we both were seeking through our separate cab windows was that part of ourselves which had been left behind. It's always at the hour of trouble and confrontation that the missing member aches.”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
“It's the only light we've got in all this darkness”
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues

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