How old was Grace in "Sonny's Blues"?

Grace in "Sonny's Blues" is a little more than two years old when she dies.

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Grace, the narrator's daughter, is a little more than two years old when she dies of polio. The narrator says she suffered. He tells the story of her getting a fever. It seemed mild, so he and his wife, Isabel, kept her in bed for a few days without calling...

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Grace, the narrator's daughter, is a little more than two years old when she dies of polio. The narrator says she suffered. He tells the story of her getting a fever. It seemed mild, so he and his wife, Isabel, kept her in bed for a few days without calling the doctor. Grace seemed to recover and be fine. Then, one day, when Isabel was making lunch in the kitchen for the two older boys who had come home from school, she heard Grace fall over in the living room and not get up. This worried her, so she went to see what was wrong. Grace didn't get up because she couldn't breathe and couldn't call out. When she finally could make a sound, she gave a terrible scream.

Graces dies, and the narrator reaches out and writes to to Sonny because he is grieved. He says his "trouble" made Sonny's seem "real." He no longer wants to cut Sonny off.

This episode helps us date the story, published in 1957, as taking place before the polio vaccination came out. It shows, too, that the narrator was emotionally shut down for a time before his daughter died, not feeling. It takes the pain of his daughter's death to wake him up emotionally so that he can feel for Sonny again.

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