Explain the narrators attitude toward Sonny.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The narrator in "Sonny's Blues" is deeply ambivalent about his brother.  The narrator has created a successful life for himself, as a teacher, with a family, living well for his time and place, having worked hard to achieve what he has.  He would like to distance himself from his brother because of what he sees as his brother's flaws and weaknesses, drug addiction and imprisonment.  Yet, you can see that the narrator loves his brother, too.  He has never been able to distance himself entirely, allowing his brother to keep in touch and visit, for example.  They share a common past.  There is no doubt there is brotherly love.  By the story's end, the narrator has shed some of his ambivalence, and we see that the love he has for Sonny has triumphed to some degree, at least for the moment. We can only hope that his love will be sustained and that Sonny will finally have some peace and success. 


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