Though suffering cannot be avoided, one can struggle against it, and one can support others in their struggles. Sonny invites the narrator to hear him play piano with a group in a Greenwich Village club. Eventually Sonny comes home and invites his brother to watch him perform later that evening.
The two brothers then stay in constant communication. The narrator walked away, telling himself that one day Sonny would need his help. He sees African American adolescents discovering the limits placed on them by a racist society at the very moment when they are discovering their abilities.
Home on leave from the army, he has seen little of Sonny, who is then is school. The narrator then explains the suffering he and his wife felt at the death of their daughter, suffering that made him want to write to Sonny at the treatment center and that finally began to make him appreciate the importance of having someone to talk to, a source of comfort in suffering.
Sonny and the band get on stage and play, and as they play, the narrator watches Sonny struggle with the music.
Such suffering is a manifestation of the general chaos of life out of which people struggle to create some order and meaning. The narrator reads in the newspaper that Sonny was taken into custody in a drug raid.
The narrator cannot protect Sonny from the world any more than his father could protect his own brother. As he prepares to teach his algebra class, the narrator remembers Sonny as a young boy. Sonny told his brother about his dream of becoming a jazz pianist, which the narrator dismissed.
The middle section of the story is a flashback. After one especially difficult fight, Sonny told his brother that he could consider him dead from that point on. When Sonny gets out of jail, the narrator is there for him.
Table of Contents Plot Overview The unnamed narrator of the story discovers from a newspaper that his younger brother, Sonny, has been arrested for selling and using heroin. When Sonny is released, the narrator brings him to live with his family. Although Sonny loved the music, the rest of family had a hard time bearing his constant practicing.
The narrator is very worried that Sonny will return to heroin. That relationship has moved through phases of separation and return. He remembers the last day he saw his mother while on leave from the army, when she told him to watch out for his brother. When the narrator accepts this invitation, Sonny tries to explain why he took heroin.
In the final third of the story, the narrator and Sonny come to an understanding that seems to reconcile them. For a while, he believed that Sonny had succumbed to the destructive influences of Harlem life.
After two days, Sonny joined the navy. While living with his sister-in-law, Sonny got into trouble for skipping school. As he paces back and forth, he sees a street-corner revival occurring outside his window and thinks about its significance.
The two men walk together, talking about Sonny. He tried to hide the truancy letters, but one eventually made it to the house. He tells the story of his relationship with his younger brother, Sonny. At the nightclub, the narrator understands what Sonny means when he finally hears him play.
His mother tells him about the death of his uncle, a story she had kept from him until this moment. Heroin is a way to try not to suffer, a way to take control of inner chaos and to find shelter from outer suffering. She tells the narrator this story partly in order to illustrate that there is no safety from suffering in their world.
His students, he realizes, could someday end up like Sonny, given the obstacles and hardships they face growing up in Harlem. Sonny reluctantly agreed to do so. She told him that when his father was a young man, he watched his own brother get run down by a car full of white men who never bothered to stop.
The story opens with a crisis in their relationship. In an extended flashback, the narrator recalls how Sonny and their father used to fight with each other because they were so similar in spirit. This perception enables the narrator to accept his brother, the life he has chosen, and the risks he must incur.
The flashback ends there. Though he knows that ultimately heroin cannot work, he also knows that he may try it again.An Analysis of James Baldwin 's "Sonny 's Blues" In James Baldwin 's short story "Sonny 's Blues" a young man questions his brotherly obligations after finding that his younger brother has been arrested for using drugs.
In the attempt to rectify his younger brother 's behavior and life, the young man faces his own feelings for his brother and. Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin.
Home / Literature / Sonny's Blues / Sonny's Blues Analysis Literary Devices in Sonny's Blues. Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory. Jazz music symbolizes different things to different characters in this story.
The narrator doesn't know anything about jazz. He associates it with a certain "element" of people, people. A short summary of James Baldwin's Sonny’s Blues.
This free synopsis covers all the crucial plot points of Sonny’s Blues. "Sonny’s Blues" is a short story by James Baldwin that was first published in Complete summary of James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Sonny's Blues.
Analysis rows eNotes. James Baldwin set "Sonny's Blues" in Harlem in the s. At that time, the Harlem Renaissance was coming to a close, and Baldwin described the "two Harlems": that of the poor and that of the.Download