Story Essay

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Pierra Smalls Dr. Hirsch-Thomas Eng 102-A13 5 February 2013 Fiction Worksheet #2 Baldwin The narrative, “Sonny’s Blues”, is written by James Baldwin. The unnamed narrator of the story discovers from a newspaper that his younger brother, Sonny, has been arrested for selling and using heroin. Throughout the narrative the narrator struggles with protecting his brother and fulfilling a promise that he made to his mother before she died. The narrator decides to write to Sonny in prison when the narrator’s young daughter, Grace, dies. Sonny writes a long letter back to his brother in which he tries to explain how he ended up where he is. The two brothers then stay in constant communication. When Sonny gets out of jail, the narrator is there for him. He takes Sonny back to his own family’s apartment. This narrative features very dynamic characters that make us the drama. Sonny’s older brother is the narrator. He is a successful man working as a math teacher and raising a family. However, he also feels trapped in Harlem, where he has lived his whole life. He knows he has an obligation to Sonny, but it takes him a while to get over his uncertainty and so he decides to devote himself to helping Sonny. Sonny is the narrator’s unruly younger brother. Sonny is a troubled young man who becomes addicted to heroin at an early age. Unlike many of the young boys in the neighborhood, Sonny is a good kid deep down. Although he is a good kid, he keeps all of his problems bottled up. He is a very talented musician and becomes alive when playing music. Another important character is the narrator’s wife Isabel. She draws the narrator out of his shell and makes him laugh. She accepts Sonny with less hesitation than the narrator. The narrator’s daughter, Grace, dies of polio while Sonny is prison. The mother of Sonny and the narrator dies while Sonny is still young. Before she

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