Sonny’s Blues starts with Sonny’s brother talking about a boy named Sonny who got arrested because he was caught selling and using heroin, which they call it ‘horse’.
The brother is thinking about the students in his class he teaches, talking about how there are so many things that could happen to these kids, they could end up like his brother, arrested and involved with drugs, or they could end up with a good future. Talking and thinking about his brother throughout the story is reminding him of the things that could happen. During the story you learn about a tragic death that happens in the narrator’s life, and everything that Sonny has done to become who he is, and every decision he has made, and as the narrator looks at what Sonny does the more understanding he becomes of why Sonny did what he did in his life, making him understand who he is as it says on page 308 when he gives his brother a cup of scotch.
This story was written in a 1st person point of view through Sonny’s brother. I believe only seeing things from the brother’s eyes is a little disappointing, just think about it. Seeing it from another point of view you could see what is going on from a different perspective. For example, Sonny’s point of view you could probably grasp a better understanding of the story and what the brother means by there are ‘limited possibilities’. Seeing things from more than just one person is quite helpful, especially in this.
The theme of this story from what I could tell is segregation and racism, but also the recovery from which these brothers made after being faced with so many problems in Harlem during the 1950s. These brothers face so many problems they faced during their youth such as; drugs, and poverty. From what I could see these things influenced the brothers in the what kind of path they take to where they are now. Sonny ended up getting into drugs because he wanted to escape his surroundings. Whereas his brother went and got more education to escape his surroundings to become a school teacher. These boys make such a huge recovery in their own ways, just look at how well these brothers did after all those hardships that they ended up facing. They ended strong with Sonny’s brother finally understanding why Sonny went on the path that he chose, and him understanding Sonny’s path, opened up his mind to a better understanding of himself at the end of the story when he has the girl set down a cup of scotch in front of Sonny.
As I was reading Sonny’s Blues, there was one connection I kept on making. Throughout the story, I continued to keep making a connection with The Great Gatsby because of how people acted. They chose their paths based on how they wanted to escape from their surroundings. Most took the path that Sonny did with the drugs and music instead of getting that education that Sonny’s brother took to become a teacher.