The narrator of James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" seems to cope with fear and pain by not really coping with them at all. In the beginning of the story, when he reads about Sonny's arrest in a newspaper, the narrator reacts with denial:
It was not to be believed and I kept telling myself that . . . I was scared, scared for Sonny. He became real to me again. A great block of ice got settled in my belly and kept melting there slowly all day long . . . but it never got less.
This passage indicates that his initial denial is followed by a sense of fear. He is obviously concerned about his brother. In the past, when Sonny told him that he wanted to be a jazz musician, the narrator worried about how Sonny's non-conventional life would turn out. The arrest is an example of his fears being realized. At the same time, it seems that his relationship with his brother has become quite distant. It seems to have been too painful for the narrator to think about his brother at all. Now that he knows of his...
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