Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin

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“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin this story is about two brothers that grew up and still live in Harlem and the ways they handle the pain and suffering that have happened in their lives. The city of Harlem plays an important role in this story because both brothers’ are trying to escape where they came from. Feeling trapped by his surroundings Sonny turned to drugs. The narrator of the story, as we learn later on is Sonny’s older brother, reads in the newspaper that Sonny had been picked up, the evening before, in a raid on an apartment downtown, for peddling and doing heroin (Baldwin, 2012). The narrator felt scared and feared what would happen to Sonny you see this when it states, “It was a special kind of ice. It kept melting, sending trickles of ice water all up and down my veins, but it never got less” (Baldwin, 2012). Ice in this story means different things, its fear, dread, shocked and the feeling of unsettledness. As the narrator talks to a friend of Sonny’s he feels there is nothing he can do or should do, Sonny brought this on his self and he will have to deal with the consequences. He feels that he has escaped the darkness of Harlem, by getting a responsible job and having a family, now Sonny will have to find his own escape, other than drugs. Darkness isn’t the absence of light but the darkness of life in Harlem; the drug use, selling drugs, poverty of the community, and the prostitutes that were always seen on the corners. Sonny being in jail doesn’t hear from his brother in a long time until a devastating event happens in his brother’s life. His brother’s daughter died of polio and he remembered the promise he had made to his mother before she passed away, which was “you got to let him know you’s there” (Baldwin, 2... ... middle of paper ... ...e isn’t an easy thing to do. For one you don’t trust them to do the right thing you are always looking over their shoulder and questioning their every move. Another reason that it’s hard to give help is because they don’t trust you and their willpower is obsolete. You have to know there are draw backs to getting clean, and Sonny’s older brother realized this because he battled with his self whether he should search Sonny’s room or not while he was there alone. You realize at some point that you can only help someone to a certain point then you have to give them room to see if they will make the right decision, you have to pray that they will make the right choice and walk away. Works Cited Baldwin, James. “Sonny’s Blues.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.12th ed. New York: Pearson, 2013. Print.
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