The world that we live in is a dangerous and dark place. There is no area that is immune to pain in suffering, but there are ways to deal with the pain and try to see the finer points in life. Music is one of those ways. In James Baldwin's short story "Sonny's Blues", music serves as a momentary exodus from the shadowy world of the Harlem streets.
At the narrator's school, the boy is whistling a tune while his peers are engrossed in evoking the evils of society. The sharp, clear sound his whistle emits is the only pure sound in the vicinity; it is the only light in the darkness: "One boy was whistling a tune, at once very complicated and very simple, it seemed to be pouring out of him as though he were a bird, and it sounded very cool and moving through that harsh, bright air, only holding its own through all those other sounds."
"We were in front of a bar and he ducked slightly, peering in, but whoever he was looking for didn't seem to be there. The jukebox was blasting away with something black and bouncy and I half watched the barmaid as she danced her way from the jukebox to her place behind the bar. And I watched her face as she laughingly responded to something someone said to her, still keeping time to the music. When she smiled one saw the little girl, one sensed the doomed, still-struggling woman beneath the battered face of the semi-whore. ... The music stopped, the barmaid paused and watched the jukebox until the music began again." The woman mentioned in this passage leads a depressing life. She's a scruffy barmaid whose only escape from the harsh reality of life is...