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What is the relationship between the chronology and the plot of "Sonny's Blues"?

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chelceymedwards | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 1, 2008 at 8:18 AM via web

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What is the relationship between the chronology and the plot of "Sonny's Blues"?

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted September 1, 2008 at 11:13 AM (Answer #1)

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This story most likely takes place over the course of over a year.  The narrator does not reveal how much time has lapsed over the course of the story, but he does say at one point that he did not think about his brother and/or talk to his brother for a long time. I would estimate that it took place over the course of several years, actually.  The plot involves taking a look at the distance (emotional) between the two brothers:  the narrator and Sonny.  The narrator fails to understand what his brother's motivations are for doing heroin and he has just dismissed it as being a bad thing and not looking beyond that.  He begins, though, to feel guilt based on a conversation with his mother earlier in his life about taking care of his brother.  He begins to realize he does not know Sonny at all, so he makes an attempt to do so, and in the process, he has an epiphany, or moment of enlightenment.  He realizes that Sonny has done heroin to escape an ugly world that they both grew up in; however, he also realizes that Sonny's music serves the same purpose. In the end, the narrator finally "gets" it.  The connection between the chronology and the plot involves space.  By this, I mean the distance of time the story takes place in and the emotional distance between Sonny and his brother.  The story is spaced out over a considerable amount of time, and Sonny is clearly emotionally distant from his Sonny until his epiphany.

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