Besides Sonny's conflict with himself (overcoming drug addiction), what other conflicts are present in "Sonny's Blues?" What is their significance?
What other external and internal conflicts can be found in "Sonny's Blues?" How do these conflicts affect the story?
Other conflicts in "Sonny's Blues" exist between Sonny and his brother, the narrator.
The narrator expects that Sonny will settle down and get a job, but Sonny has no wish for a regular job. Music is what touches him. This causes a disagreement between the two. Sonny also wants to join the army, which makes his brother angry. Sonny is looking for ways to follow his dream and the army will provide this, but the narrator is worried about Sonny, wanting him to come home from the army alive and well, and wanting him to settle down—especially as the narrator had promised their mother to take care of Sonny.
Sonny spends time living with Isabel and her family while the narrator is in the army. There is conflict here because Sonny plays the piano all the time and it disrupts the family's life. This shows how music is so important to Sonny, but how difficult it is for others to appreciate his dream.
Sonny's drug use is not just a conflict for Sonny, but it causes a great deal of concern for his brother, not just in terms of his health, but ultimately in terms of his stay in prison, and his fear that Sonny will never be able to kick his heroin addiction. This also reflects the narrator's fear that Sonny's life will be lost if not literally, then figuratively.
The narrator experiences inner conflict in worrying about his brother. Sonny is no longer a child, yet the narrator feels responsible for his brother's welfare. He is also at a loss to know what to do for Sonny because he can't understand Sonny's passion for music and dependence on drugs, though toward the end of the story, the brothers seem to make some headway in communicating their feelings about these two things.