Academic Master


Comparing two characters (the narrator and his brother) from “Sonny’s Blues.” How are they the same? How are they different?

Sonny’s Blues is a short story written by James Baldwin. It is a story that is based on the style of the narrator in which he uses the first personal pattern throughout the story. The narrator is the brother of Sonny and consistently attracts the attention of consumers through his interesting methods. The narrator is depicting the story of Sonny, who is making himself an unimportant character many times in the poem. The story includes not only the struggles and decisions of Sunny but also the factors that how these struggles and decisions impact the narrator. The main theme of the story is the brotherhood and love relationship between the two characters Sonny and the narrator who is telling the story.

The narrator is defining his own life with the life of Sonny and explores the struggles of life. The narrator used the method of the first person and the central one to tell the story of Sonny and the story of his own life. Sonny is not able to define his own life and is not the one who deliberately discusses his life as compared to the narrator’s pattern.

Both brothers were living in Harlem in the era of early 1960. They were different in their perceptions of life. They grew up in the same home but became completely different people. Both brothers were facing problems in their lives, and they both had different mentalities to deal with their issues. The similarities in their behavior include the selfishness that existed in their behavior. The narrator was an educator but was not able to describe his emotions verbally and became a person who always wanted to keep everything hidden inside him. But Sonny was different and tried to adopt the profession of music but failed in it. The failure led him to start using drugs and heroin. Sonny did not want to be a part of the Harlem society and wanted to leave it. He left his school and joined the army for this purpose to stay away from his society. Sonny knows that the usage of drugs is bad but is not able to quit this habit as he favors the pattern of his life in which heroin existed. Both brothers used different measures and different strategies in their lives. Sonny always wanted to find a purpose in his life, and that is why he joined the army, he started taking drugs and adopted the profession of music. Sonny was not able to sort out his problems, and he always tried to mask them up with the temporary aspects.

The narrator is also a selfish man who always considers his own life and his feelings. He did not care about the people who were living around him, such as Sonny. The narrator promised his mother that he would always take care of Sonny but failed to complete that promise. But as a whole, he was quite better than Sonny, who always selected the wrong ways in his life; the Narrator had a job and used to say that he was never able to understand his brother due to his different and changing nature. But somehow, he loved his brother and could accept all the mistakes that he made in his life. In the end, the narrator realizes that his brother has a unique talent and ability to be a great musician, which he never noticed before. Between the brothers, the similarities were less than their differences throughout the story.

Works Cited

Baldwin, J. (2009). Sonny Retrieved 5 April 2018, from

Sonny’s Blues Narrator Point of View. (2018). Retrieved 5 April 2018, from



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