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Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin Essay

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Although presenting just a small sample for comparison there are definite points in this story where the lives of Sonny and his brother coincide with that of James Baldwin; the location of the story is from his childhood; the fact that the narrator’s name is never mentioned and the other characters are referred to by their familial position suggests Baldwin’s feelings about his place in his own family; as the oldest child and the only one in the home that didn’t share biological parents. If there were further doubt that a writer draws from their own lives to create their tales, James Baldwin himself states "One writes out of one thing only -- one's own experience." (Baldwin)
Sonny’s Blues is the story of a man and his brother struggling to rebuild their relationship after a long rift; it opens with the man learning that Sonny has been arrested for possession of heroin, something that Baldwin surely had some exposure to growing up in Harlem and later living in Greenwich Village. While Sonny is imprisoned, the man loses his daughter prompting him to write his brother, they resume co...


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