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Characterization of Sonny's Blues

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In this story, Baldwin writes about two brothers who grew together. As each of the boys grew older, they fell apart from one another and lived two completely different lives. Baldwin carefully establishes the brothers as opposites.

The narrator (the older brother)

l He is a cautious, respectable family man

l He teaches math and is proud of his professional standing

l Seem to be more conservative and more determined for a good future.

l His major source of discontent has been his selfish desire to assimilate and lead a respectable, safe life as a high-school algebra teacher.

l When he learns of SonnyÐŽ¦s troubles with drugs and the law, he feels threatened.

l For him, the way he lives now is safe, and all Sonny does are dangerous.

l Living in a Harlem housing project, he consciously protects himself from the dangers that surround him

Sonny (the younger brother)

l He is a romantic artist who is not afraid of taking risks to pursue the things he desires.

l His passion for music makes him impatient with everything else. He drops out of school

l More free-willed and did not even know what his plans were for the next our, much less for the rest of his life

l In his brotherÐŽ¦s view he is ÐŽ§wildЎЁ but not ÐŽ§hard or evil or disrespectfulЎЁ

l He also tries to stay away from danger. He has several things that he is trying to escape, he tries to escape by joining the military, but fails. He tries to escape through drugs and fails. The drugs become another to try and escape but only compound his problem. Later, he decides that the only escape he can get from his problems is those moments when he can immerse himself in his music. Music becomes his escape



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