Money destroys and is the root of all evil, Hurston implies. Far from bringing people together, the coveting of money almost drives two happy people apart.
However, it is important to note that, while not rich, Missie and Joe are not impoverished. They have enough money to eat reasonably well, to go out for ice cream, and for small luxuries. Hurston is careful to note that the couple has already saved some money to support the coming child. To live in absolute poverty, in the midst of despair, is a very different matter. That is the life situation of the title character of “Sonnys Blues.” The title of the story, which refers to blues music, underlines how the blues are a powerful symbol of hope and despair. Sonnys love of music, is what still remains good about him, what still gives him hope, even when he is an addict. “I want to play with-jazz musicians.I want to play jazz,” says Sonny. The story is also about the blues — in the sense that the blues embody the dark side of music, a cry of despair, and the drug addiction that destroyed the life of Bird, Charlie Parker and Sonnys idol (Baldwin 103). The underlying theme of “Sonnys Blues” is very tragic, namely the siren song of the lust for heroin.
Sonny could have had a bright future as a gifted musician, but it was too difficult for him to resist the allure of drugs. Like Missie coveted Slemmons gold, Sonny coveted an easy fix for his troubles. The fact that so many young black men in Harlem, who do not feel they have a future find themselves singing “Sonnys Blues” and using drugs shows that the need for money cannot be ignored. Without hope of economic security and a future, depression can lead men and women to do desperate things. Having too little money and ignoring the need for hope is just as damaging as only longing for money, to the exclusion of other important things like family. When I choose my life path, I cannot ignore practicality and the need for economic security, like Sonnys false dreams of jazz. I know I must work hard and face realitys cold glare, yet I will not make my future simply about finding as much gold as possible. Because a future based only on money is only gilded and filled with emptiness.
Baldwin, James. “Sonnys Blues.” From Literature and Ourselves. Longman, 2008.
Hurston, Zora Neale. “The Gilded Six Bits.” From.