Sonny’s Blues Short Summary
“Sonny’s Blues” is a story by author James Baldwin. The story became published for the first time in the Partisan Review in 1957. It is the story of Sonny, an African American man from Harlem. Sonny gets arrested for possession of drugs. The story is told by an unnamed narrator, who is his brother.
Plot Overview Briefly
The tale begins with the narrator reading that Sonny has been arrested for selling and using Heroin. He is distracted for the rest of the day. The narrator teaches algebra in high school and now looks at the students wondering whether some will turn out like his brother as a means to escape sufferings as black people.
The narrator meets one of Sonny’s old friends, who also use drugs, and they converse. The man makes the narrator aware of what Sonny will undergo in prison and how hard it will be for him.
A few months later, the daughter of the narrator dies of Polio, and this makes him write to Sonny in prison. Sonny replies, and they bond. Sonny is released later and goes to live with his brother.
The narrator has some flashbacks of childhood life. His mother tells him that his father watched as a previous son got killed by drunk men in a car.
The mother of the narrator dies later on. The narrator married Isabel and sent Sonny to live with the Isabel`s parents until he was done with school. Sonny had a desire to become a musician. He does not go to school, and one day, he decides to join the navy. The next time the brothers saw each other was when the war had ended.
In the present, Sonny has lived with his brother for weeks, and they connect after Sonny invite his brother to hear him sing. The two go to a night club where Sonny is loved and plays with the band. The narrator is in tears during the song thinking about suffering. The band takes a pause, and the narrator buys a drink for the bartender. Sonny looks at his brother, and the band resumes playing.