characterization of sonny’s blues

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)
lHe is a cautious, respectable family man
lHe teaches math and is proud of his professional standing
lSeem to be more conservative and more determined for a good future.

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

lWhen he learns of Sonnys troubles with drugs and the law, he feels threatened.
lFor him, the way he lives now is safe, and all Sonny does are dangerous.

lLiving in a Harlem housing project, he consciously protects himself from the dangers that surround him
Sonny (the younger brother)
lHe is a romantic artist who is not afraid of taking risks to pursue the things he desires.

lHis passion for music makes him impatient with everything else. He drops out of school
lMore free-willed and did not even know what his plans were for the next our, much less for the rest of his life
lIn his brothers view he is wild but not hard or evil or disrespectful
lHe 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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