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Sonny's Blues

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Litz 1
Amber Litz
English Comp 2
Dr. Datema
May 28, 2013
“Sonny’s Blues”
From the beginning of this story, Baldwin manages to catch the readers’ attention, drawing you into the story. The first sentence states, “I read about it in the paper, in the subway, on my way to work” (Baldwin384). As a reader you imagine yourself, reading that paper, on the subway, on your way to work. The narrator in “Sonny’s Blues” remains unnamed to have the reader become the narrator. The way that it is written has the reader reciting the story in first person, therefore becoming one with Sonny’s brother. This causes an immediate emotional involvement to the story and the characters.

It also seems that the narrator staying nameless allows the focus of the story to be on Sonny and all of his issues. Even in conversation with their mother, Sonny seems to be the focus. On page 393 there is an exchange between the narrator and his mother. The gist of this exchange is the mother expressing concern and telling the narrator, that if something happens, he needs to look after Sonny. There is not much talk focused on the narrator and what his needs may be. Though the narrator is involved in much of the story, he seems to fill the roll of storyteller. When the tragedy of losing his daughter occurred, there wasn’t much written about it. Instead Sonny is the true focus of the story, and the narrator remaining nameless, enforces this. ​Litz 2

On pages 396-397 the narrator is having a discussion with Sonny regarding him playing his jazz music. There is a bit of a heated exchange between the brothers. Sonny is so passionate about playing jazz music and his brother just cannot comprehend the whole thing. This is an example of how the narrator is listening but not hearing Sonny. Partially, because he wants Sonny to clean up his act for good and he is worried that the musician lifestyle is not the right way to achieve this. Once Sonny reaches a certain level of aggravation,...