"Sonny's Blues" is narrated in the first-person by an unnamed character, Sonny's brother. An algebra teacher in a high school in Harlem, this narrator is a stable family man with a wife and two sons. He is seven years older than Sonny and has tried, at various times during their lives, to parent him and to protect him. The story opens as the narrator, who has been estranged from Sonny for over a year, is on the subway, reading about a drug raid in which Sonny has been arrested and jailed. As guilt and sorrow wash over him, the narrator is approached by one of Sonny's childhood friends, an addict who blames himself for Sonny's addiction and subsequent arrest. The narrator and the friend discuss what has happened to Sonny, and we see the narrator begin, with anger, to try to understand how and why Sonny has become an addict.
Pause, Reflect, and Chat
Chat #1: Reread the exchange between the narrator and Sonny's friend. How would you characterize the narrator's behavior and feelings towards Sonny's friend? Is the narrator kind, cruel, compassionate, abrupt, empathic, angry? Explain your view and the evidence supporting it.
The narrator doesn't contact Sonny while he is in prison/rehab until his own daughter, Gracie, dies of polio (see "grace" as defined by Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology). When the narrator does finally contact Sonny, Sonny responds immediately, asking for forgiveness, trying to explain how and why he developed his heroin addiction, and expressing his uncertainty over what will happen to him when he is released from prison. When Sonny is released from prison, the narrator brings him back to live with his family in Harlem and begins trying to repair their relationship.
Pause, Reflect, and Chat
Chat #2: In your own dictionary (preferable), or via this link, review the theological or religious meaning of the word "grace" (It has to do with the mercy and protection of God that is granted true believers). Now... [continues]
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