Sonny's Blues

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February 16, 2013
English 120
SCNW

Writing Assignment 1

“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin was about the arrest of the unnamed narrator brother Sonny for using and selling heroin. By that happening this causes the narrator to think back to their childhood, when Sonny was wild but he wasn’t crazy. Sonny’s brother (the narrator) who is a high school math teacher is sort of shell-shocked the whole day while he tries to teach his students. After Sonny’s brother is leaving work he runs into one of Sonny’s old friends. Sonny’s old friend apparently wanted to get something off his chest about Sonny. It had turned out that Sonny’s old friend felt responsible for what’s happening to Sonny, since he’s a heroin user himself. He tries to explain to Sonny’s brother why Sonny may have ended up on drugs. Sonny’s brother had gone through tragedy as well due to the death of his daughter. Sonny’s Blues was well written, most readers, in fact believed that James Baldwin delivered this story in a genius way. According to research some readers had trouble understanding some of the religious quotes that were used in the story. Here’s one religious quote that goes misunderstood; “Yet, when he smiled, when we shook hands, the baby brother I’d never known looked out from the depth of his private life, like an animal waiting to be coaxed into the light.” In this quote the narrator (who name is never mentioned in the story) makes this observation about Sonny when he sees his brother after his release from prison. Prison for Sonny was a horrible experience and so was his addiction to heroin. The narrator notes, mournfully, that he never actually knew his baby brother, even though he can see traces of him buried beneath the darkness of prison life and drug addiction. The question that remains for Sonny is whether he can be brought back into the light, whether he can ultimately be saved. While in prison, Sonny lived like a caged animal, trapped free now, but whether he is free of his...
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