A Changing Character
In the short story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin a schoolteacher from the city of Harlem struggles with life and figuring out how to helped his troubled brother. All though named Sonny’s Blues the main character is actually Sonny’s brother who is the narrator and goes through his life and how he reacts to the many problems his younger brother has come into. The brothers grew up in the poverty stricken city of Harlem where the brothers had to avoid drugs and violence constantly. Growing up, Sonny struggled to stay out of trouble and ended up making some bad decisions throughout his life and ends up landing him in jail and addicted to heroin. The un-named brother of Sonny who is the narrator of the story begins to realize he should help his brother instead of pushing him away after the arrest and by the end has completely changed his view on what he thinks of Sonny and becomes sympathetic. On the morning the morning the narrator first reads of Sonny’s arrest he is very disturbed at what his brother has become. Finding out what Sonny has done brings disappointment and anger to the narrator. Sonny had always “been a good boy” (Baldwin 240) in the narrators eyes and had always believed “Sonny was wild, but he wasn’t crazy.” (Baldwin 240) Even though the narrator feels Sonny isn’t a evil person at heart, he doesn’t show compassion for Sonny because he believes it is too late and he wont change his lifestyles. The brothers go over a year without communicating until a tragic event opens the eyes of the narrator and changes his view on Sonny. The first change in character of the narrator comes when he has to deal with the tragic death of his daughter. His daughter who’s name happens to be Grace was especially hard for him to deal with as it was unexpected and there was no way he could have stopped it. Grace’s death is also symbolic to the death the narrator’s sense of grace. The narrator begins to have feelings of regret for not being there more...
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