Sonny's Blues

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In the short story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, a brother named Sonny was arrested for using and selling drugs. The narrator is the older brother of Sonny who finds out he’s in jail through the newspaper, he had not spoken to him in years. After Sonny’s release from prison, he moves in with his older brother and for a period of time they both attempt to deal with each other. Drugs had taken over most of Sonny’s life mainly because of his father’s personality, his neglecting brother and the harsh living environment. Sonny got some of his personality from his father. These traits he picked up from his father aren’t so healthy. He was “the apple of his father’s eye.” They both “had-that same privacy” where they would “move back, inside himself, where he can’t be reached.” Their dad was”big and rough and loud-talking, just the opposite of Sonny” but when it came down to one thing “they both had-that same privacy.” Before his father died, Sonny and he never got along. They were always arguing and the “reason that they never hit it off is that they were so much alike.” The mother was the protector of the family, but when she passed, the narrator was left to protect Sonny. When the brother came back from leave for his mothers’ funeral, he had sat down to speak to Sonny. When he found out that all he wanted to be was a musician, the narrator “couldn't see why on earth he'd want to spend his time hanging around nightclubs, clowning around on bandstands, while people pushed each other around a dance floor.” Sonny was “deeply hurt” when he realized his brother didn’t understand him. The narrator neglected his ways of thinking and thought he was experiencing adolescence. The narrator didn’t just neglect his ways of thinking for the future, but also never listened to what Sonny had to say about anything to try and better him. For example, he wanted to join the army or the navy to get away from the bad streets of Harlem.

Sonny grew up in the projects of Harlem....
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