Family Matters- Sonny's Blues

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Family Matters “Blood runs thicker than water.” This is a common phrase used to describe the role in family. For some, this phrase is simple to uphold, but for others, such as the narrator in “Sonny’s Blues,” the phrase more difficult to apply. Only in the flashbacks of pain and sorrow that occur throughout the story does the narrator finally discover that he needs to not only aid Sonny, but understand his lifestyle to truly recognize that blood runs thicker than water. Although brothers tend to grow apart from each other as they grow older and begin separate lives, the narrator still finds that he should be his brother’s keeper, no matter what the circumstances. The story begins when the narrator reads about his younger brother, Sonny, being arrested for selling and using heroin. The narrator then continues his day as a high school algebra teacher, but cannot seem to get Sonny off of his mind. As the day progresses, the narrator begins to think of Sonny when he was the age of his students. He states, “When he (Sonny) was about as old as the boys in my classes his face has been bright and open, there was a lot of copper in it” (98). The panic and disbelief of such news lasted throughout the entire day, including his encounter with one of Sonny’s friends after school let out. After his encounter with Sonny’s friend, the narrator had no contact with his brother, for an undisclosed time period, until after the death of his little girl, Gracie. This sparks a series where the narrator writes Sonny while he is in jail. Here the narrator says “he made me feel like a bastard” (142). He felt like a bastard because at this point, he realizes that he is failing as his brother’s keeper. After this, the narrator stays in constant contact with Sonny, and even picks him up from jail. Sonny comes home with the narrator. The narrator begins to feel uncomfortable about

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