How is the narrator's response to Sonny shaped by his own set of goals, hang-ups, and responsibilities as his "brother's keeper"? James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues"

Expert Answers info

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues," having had a daughter die, the narrator notes that "[M]y trouble made his real."  As he waits for Sonny at the subway station, the narrator experiences a flood of memories hit him and he finds himself shaking hands with "the baby brother I'd never known."  After the narrator picks up Sonny, they ride in a cab through the "killing streets" of Harlem until they reach his home:

The moment Sonny and I started into the house I had the feeling that I was simply bringing him back into the danger he had almost died trying to escape.

Again, the narrator is struck by memories, recalling his promise to his mother:  "I won't let nothing happen to Sonny."  Significantly, he also recalls her other words,"But you go to let him know you's there."  Now he senses himself "in the presence of something" as he looks at Sonny as...

(The entire section contains 455 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial