“Sonny’s Blues” is a text with a lot to analyze. We’ve spent a lot of time in class, discussing Sonny, his brother and the issues of race, poverty and control (of life and suffering). We have also closely looked at the role of music in both Sonny and his brother’s lives. The following short answer questions will help you write your second essay. Answer each question thoroughly and completely using full sentences. You answers should be typed and in MLA format.
- Suffering is a major theme in “Sonny’s Blues”. What internal and external factors contribute to Sonny’s suffering? How does Sonny’s art/music communicate his pain? How does his pain reflect the suffering of his community?
2. Illustrate, using textual evidence, how Baldwin uses the themes of light and darkness
to reflect the struggles of Sonny and his brother.
3. Grace’s death acts as a catalyst for the narrator’s acknowledgement of his pain and the pain around him. How does the narrator’s loss of control in his personal life allow him to understand Sonny as an artist?
4. The end of Sonny’s Blues alludes to a mutual understanding and acceptance between brothers. What textual evidence and Biblical symbolism shows the narrator has forgiven Sonny.