Critical Analysis Of Sonny’s Blues

Sonny’s Blues is a short story about a family from Harlem. The narrator of the story is the brother that stayed behind, while his brother Sonny left to pursue a career as a musician. Sonny was determined to leave Harlem behind, unlike his brother who stayed to become a teacher and has a family. Both brothers see the downfalls of the community and that drugs run ramped in their community but even though Sonny leaves Harlem, he still finds himself with a drug problem and goes to prison because of it.

After being released from prison, Sonny desperately tries to break free from his ways and uses music to do so but he has doubts about using music to do it because he used drugs while playing but music claims him. The person that bears all the weight of the tragedy that hits the family is the mother. She takes care of her husband when his brother dies and Sonny as he is going through his rough patch. But since she is dying, she knows that she can’t take care of her family as she was had and turns to the narrator to take care of Sonny.

This story has biblical undertones, the mother could be seen as Jesus because she puts everyone else needs ahead of hers and works to make everyone else life around her better, while leaving hers on the back burner. And my brother’s keeper comes to play in this story twice, once when the husband’s brother dies and then the narrator taking care of the Sonny. This story takes a look at one of the many places around the world that has crime and is a dangerous place to live in. There are places across the United States. The people that live there want change and so even leave to get away from it but most always seem to fall into the same pattern they would have if they didn’t leave.

The overall analysis of this story is based on family values and struggle. You see every family member struggle at some point. The narrator when he sees drugs being dealt in the playground near the projects and that the neighborhood is going downhill and struggling with his brother. Sonny struggles with addiction and rediscovering himself and his mother struggles with dying and not being able to take care of her family anymore.


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