How are Sonny and his brother alike in "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin?

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Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Sonny and his brother, the narrator of the story, are similar in that they both want to escape from Harlem, the neighborhood in which they grew up. The narrator escapes Harlem through marriage and becoming a teacher, whereas Sonny escapes by joining the army while he is quite young.

In a larger sense, both Sonny and his brother contend with a problem that is first identified by the older generation. The narrator says the following about the gatherings of the older generation: "Everyone is looking at something a child can't see." The author describes this "something" as "the darkness outside." As it grows literally dark outside, the elders recall the racism that they have experienced and that they continue to endure. This "darkness" is the reality of being black in America. Both the narrator and his brother...

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teachertaylor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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