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Sonnys Blues1

This story is about two brothers trying to live out their lives in the ghetto. Sonny tries to live his life as he wants while his brother tries to live his life as a provider for his family. This story begins when the brother/narrator finds out that his younger brother has been arrested for either using or selling heroin. The brother’s first response is that its Sonny’s problem and he would have to deal with it. This reaction tells the reader that the narrator is alienated from his brother, who has taken up a life of music and drugs. The reader now finds out about the narrator’s mother and father. Sonny’s mother kept on telling her older son to look out for his younger brother. It seems that their mother knew that no matter what family is still family. The reader finds out that some drunken white male killed Sonny’s father’s brother. This haunts his father for the rest of his life, because he felt that he could have saved his brother from his death. This is very significant in this story, because the narrator also feels guilt for how his brother has turned out. We find out that the narrator had promised his mother to look after his brother but he abandons his brother in his time of need. The beginning of “Sonny’s Blues” marks an awakening for the narrator. He is faced with Sonny’s drug addiction problem. His own grief for the loss of his daughter focuses a new perception. Now the narrator tries to truly understand his younger brother and what he wants out of his life. The narrator must finally come to know his baby brother in order to understand the menace that he had almost died trying to escape. The narrator realizes the truth in his mother’s advice to him before she died. She said, “You got to let him know you’s there,” and in doing so Sonny’s brother allow his silence to be challenged by Sonny’s account of his suffering and by the music...

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