Sonny’s Blues begins with a nameless narrator talking about this boy named Sonny. The narrator of the story is Sonny’s brother. Sonny got arrested because he was caught selling and using heroin, which they call it ‘horse’.
The narrator, Sonny’s brother, moves on thinking about the students in his class that 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. In 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 that only seeing things from the brother’s eyes is a little disappointing, considering if you could see what is going on from Sonny’s point of view too you could probably grasp a better understanding of the theme of the story and also what the brother means by there are ‘limited possibilities’ from which they could end up with in the end after school. Seeing things from more than just one person is quite helpful, especially in this case. The theme of this story is the recovery from which these brothers made after being faced with so many problems in Harlem during the 1950s. These brothers face so many hardships along their youth such as drugs, and poverty. From what I could see these things influenced the brothers in the kind of path they take. Sonny got involved with all the drugs and music because of him wanting to escape that reality that was surrounding him. Whereas his brother took the path of education to escape his surroundings and became a well-mannered and respectful husband and father.
The biggest part of the theme, in my opinion at least, is the recovery these boys make considering how well these brothers recovered from 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. 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.