James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”, has a narrator that attributes to the story its unique pulse.

James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”, has a narrator that attributes to the story its unique pulse.

James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”, has a narrator that attributes to the story its unique pulse. The story consists of two brothers who haven’t seen each other in sometime. Sonny, one of the two brothers, gets incarcerated for selling and using heroin. Sonny’s brother finds out what happened to Sonny by reading a newspaper. Sonny is the main character and Sonny’s brother, who remains nameless, is the narrator. In the entire story we view how Sonny’s brother acts with and thinks about Sonny. We also see Sonny through his eyes. The narrator is a sophisticated algebra teacher who analyzes everything inch by inch from a higher class editorial point of view. “Tell me,” I said at last, “why does he want to die? He must want to die, he’s killing himself, why does he want to die?”(p43). When speaking to one of Sonny’s friends about whether or not Sonny would “kick the habit” of using heroin, he thinks that it’s because Sonny wants to die. He doesn’t think that its because “he wants to live” as his friend stated (43). He has certain stereotypes about drug users so he doesn’t know exactly why they use it. He doesn’t realize that it could be for one or more of many reasons. They could be struggling with something, going through a phase or who knows what?, but to him in his stereotypical educated mind they want to die. A narrator with a point of view that wasn’t educated would have made this story just another story. But, Baldwin’s choice of an algebra teacher was the absolute perfect choice to get his message across. This isn’t just another story of what happens in the “ghetto” or to people in the “ghetto”, the reason being is, it isn’t told by a “ghetto” person. Baldwin’s choice of an editorial point of view instead of an objective one is what made “Sonny’s blues” such a heart felt story. The narrator is an observer and a participant in the story. He is not only in…


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