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Sonnys Blues

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Brooke Erskine
23 February 2013
Intro to English
120
Literary Analysis Essay 1
The Leading Conflicts in “Sonny’s Blues”
In this Literary Analysis Essay I will be analyzing a story called “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin. This story is one that many may be able to relate to in there day to day life. Struggle, hardship, and family are all things involved in this story. There are many struggles between both characters and their family. In “Sonny’s Blues,” both the narrator and his brother, Sonny, are in extreme conflicts with one another, living in Harlem, and there family. All of these factors lead you into the climax of the story. When reading this story you find out right away that the narrator and his brother Sonny do not have a good relationship. This stems from Sonny’s struggles between substance abuse and wanting to play music instead of finishing school like the narrator wanted for his brother. The narrator states within the second paragraph of the story that, “He had been picked up the evening before, in a raid on an apartment downtown, for peddling and using heroin.” (Baldwin 68) This resulted in him being thrown in jail. The narrator saw his brother’s life spiraling out of control and didn’t know how to cope with it or even how to help him. This resulted in him going through a conflict within himself to decide whether he wants to reconnect with his brother and mend the fences or to cut off all ties. Another reason being that he and his brother Sonny do not get along comes from when their mother passed away and the narrator wanted Sonny to finish school and stay in Harlem but Sonny had a different idea. He wanted to escape the streets of Harlem and get away and pursue his dream with music, piano/jazz music in particular. While the Narrator was away Sonny was to stay with his soon to be wife’s parents. Sonny did not agree with this at all. When discussing the matter Sonny states “’I want to join the army. Or the navy, I don’t care. If I say I’m old...