There are many ways one can “escape reality’ from today’s world. Whether it be through drugs, music, exercise or a change of scenery, it is important to focus on the circumstances of our lives that cause our desire to get away, or escape. Circumstances may be unique to an individual, but it is safe to say that the desire to escape reality is not. In the two stories, “Pall’s Case” and “Sonny’s Blues,” it becomes clear that the two main characters Paul and Sonny use their love of music as a way to escape the troubles of their every day reality.
From the beginning of the stories, it is interesting to discover the circumstances that fuel each characters need for music. Both characters come from a troubled past; difficulty in school, failure to fit in and feelings of self-consciousness. Sonny, who most recently deals with a heroin addiction and drug trafficking charges, was known by others a morally good kid. “He always was a good boy,” his brother said, “he hadn’t ever turn disrespectful or evil like the other kids can, so easily. “Sonny felt hopeless when it came to school, claiming he isn’t learning what he needed to use in the real world.
His depression also involved feelings of negligence, living with his step sister’s family. When addressed by his older brother, he explains his reasoning for trying heroin. “Heroin is a way to try not to suffer, a way to take control of inner chaos and to find shelter from outer suffering. ” While abstaining from heroin, he turns to music to find this shelter. As he expresses his plans of being a musician to his brother, his brother is skeptical, not realizing the value of music in his brother’s life. Sonny was fascinated with a form of Jazz he could elate too.
Aside from prior forms of Jazz, this type of Jazz was spontaneous and unpredictable, with players responding from the notes of others. For people like Sunny that were unable to fit into the order and restrictions of their own life, this was a way to escape into a world of their own creation. The ability to create his own sound and music was the only way for him to defy social norms. He became addicted to music, much like his addiction to drugs. For Sonny, music was the new drug. When playing, Sonny was smiles and explains to his brother what music did for him, “Vie en someone I don’t recognize, someone I didn’t know I could be. He continues, Sometimes, you know, It was when I was the most out of the world, that I felt the most in it, that I was with it, that I could play or didn’t even have to play. Once his brother is able to see him play, he realizes a difference within Sonny as he is playing. He realizes that the music has influenced Sonny into becoming a new person, through the passion in Sonny’s eyes that music is Sonny’s rehab and his way of redemption. This reaction is similar to the character Paul of “Pall’s Case. “When the symphony Egan Paul sank into one of the rear seats with a long sigh of relief, and lost himself Escaping Reality Through Music By increment in particular to Paul, but the first sigh of the instruments seemed to free some hilarious and potent spirit within him; He felt a sudden zest of life; the lights danced before his eyes and the concert hall blazed into unimaginable splendor. This demonstrates that much like Sonny, Pall’s love for music asks like a drug, producing similar side affects and effects that a pleasure inducing drug would have. Paul also comes from difficult personal circumstances.
He similarly struggles in school, even coming suspended for some time. We learn that aside from family, Paul feels like he is no fit for his everyday reality because of his homosexuality. He struggles with this often, feeling guilty for his existence. “Until now he could not remember the time when he had not been dreading something. Even when he was a little boy it was always there ?behind him, or before, or on either side. There had always been the shadowed corner, the dark place into which he dared not look, but from which something seemed always to be watching him?and Paul had done things that were not pretty to watch, he knew.
It was within his music filled world at Carnegie Hall, a community full and accepting of homosexuality, that he felt he could be himself. Paul becomes dependent on music as his thoughts grow darker. Like an addict would be dependent on drugs when feeling depressed or down. As he alienation becomes more severe, he dreams about leaving this life. He even fantasize of his father killing him on accident when he comes home late at night, even claiming that he’s sure his father would later “regret not killing him. ” His attendance at the opera house increases frequently, and his feelings of music and the artistic world increase.
His need for music and the artistic lifestyle increases, and he goes to great lengths to achieve the feeling or high that music gives him, with his trip to New York City. Although both of these stories end on two extremes of the spectrum of life, it becomes clear that these two characters are able to escape reality and their problems temporarily through their love of music. While playing or being surrounded by music, both characters find a part of themselves that they love and accept. Much like a drug, music in these two characters life makes their reality temporarily enjoyable and thrilling.
Music as an art comes a rare talent that these boys have, and builds their self esteem that may have been dwindling from their life at home and in school. The ability to escape reality with something safe such as music is respectable and they mature through music with the clarity and mindset it gives them. The stress of today’s society troubles many of us as we age. These stories cause us to be more aware of what an experience or hobby may mean to an individual. As we can see that Sonny and Paul achieve the ability to escape their own reality through music, the stories pose an important question; What do you do to escape?