Family relationships are usually characterized with strong biological relationships. Sonny’s Blue story one of the family stories that exposes readers to an encounter between family members with different characters, values and experiences yet are tied with strong biological relationships. This paper provides an analysis of how the narrator’s values and experiences shape the story and how the story would have been told in the perspective of Sonny, one of the characters.
Sonny Blue’s story is told from a narrator’ point of view; he is Sonny’s elder brother, although throughout the story, his name is not mentioned. He is a math teacher in a local school and describes Sonny’s life throughout the story. He begins the story by describing how he heard of Sonny’s arrest in a local newspaper; his brother’s arrest was surprising as he indicates that: “I read it, and I could not believe it” (Baldwin 122). The narrator goes further to describe how he was scare for his younger brother Sony. He applies metaphor to describe the extent of surprise and anxiety he experienced when he heard his brother was arrested, for instance he posits that: “A great block of ice settled in my stomach and kept melting” (Baldwin 122). Moreover, he narrates how he failed to writer his younger brother a letter while he was in prison until when his daughter dies.
How the Narrator’s Values and Experience affect his View of the Story
In terms of experience, it appears that the narrator is one of the most successful individuals or young men in Harlem city. Most men in the city including Sonny’s friend are drug addicts and have not been successful life. One of Sonny’s friends, also a drug addicts waits for his in-front of the gate of the school to inform him of Sonny’s plight and the reasons why Sonny may experience further problems. Perhaps his success could be one of the reasons he does not show concern in regard to Sonny’s problems. He blames his younger brother for not having listened to him when they were younger; that is, Sonny did not focus on other issues he considered important in life but focused on playing piano all day.
The narrator feels obligated. This is one of his values that shape his views regarding the story. Although he fails to neither write a letter to his brother nor visit while he is serving his life in prison, he feels obligated that Sonny is his brother and he should inform him that he has lost a daughter. In this regard, he decides to write a letter to Sonny, informing him that he has lost his younger daughter. The letter changes his relationship with Sonny henceforth and they maintain communication until the release of his brother. Consequently, he has compassion for his brother or brotherly love. Certain authors have indicated that brotherly love or sibling compassion is a natural feeling is rarely fades no matter how siblings conflict (Lamb 11). Perhaps this is one of the reasons the narrator decides to write his brother a letter and waits for him upon the completion of his jail term.
How the Story would change if it were told by Sonny
How the names of the Major Characters, Daddy, Mama and Sonny affect Reader’s Senses towards the Story
The use of the names, daddy and mama creates a feeling of family love; that is the love of children towards their parents. Sony and his unnamed elderly brother do not refer to their parents with their actual names. This could also be an indication of respect that exists between Sonny, his brother and their parents. From the story, Sonny’s mother dies when Sonny is still young and she expresses her concern over the welfare of her son. In regard to Sonny’s father, he has similar characteristics as his son. He is also a reserved person and was obsessed with making attempts to achieve personal understanding. The names, Sonny, Mama and Daddy create a feeling of a strong family attachment or relationship. This is emphasized by the emotional concern family member has towards each other, for example: The unnamed narrator shows concern and compassion towards Sonny his brother.
Sonny’s Blues is a story that revolves around a family characterized with individuals of different opinions, perspectives and life values yet are tied by strong biological emotions. The family is troubled with Sonny’s problems since his childhood; however, his older brother makes attempts to ensure that he leads a normal and successful life. The narrator’s values such as compassion, obligation and experience shape the story, for example: His compassion towards his brother Sonny compels him to write him a letter and accommodates him after he completes his jail term.
Baldwin, James. Sonny's Blues. Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 1993. Print.
Lamb, Michael E., and Brian Sutton-Smith. Sibling relationships: Their nature and significance across the lifespan. Psychology Press, 2014.