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Questions & Answers
Style, Form, and Literary Elements
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Sonny's Blues Baldwin, James
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Sonny's Blues Questions and Answers
What are the narrator's ways of coping with his pain and fear in "Sonny's Blues"?
In "Sonny's Blues" how does the order in which events are related later in the story affect your experience of reading it and interpreting its meaning?
What is the relationship between Sonny and his brother and how does it change?
In "Sonny's Blues," please explain the last sentence.
What is the irony in "Sonny's Blues"?
What does the title of "Sonny's Blues" refer to?
What is the significance of the street revival meeting in "Sonny's Blues"?
"Sonny's Blues" begins in media res. What does Baldwin achieve by beginning the story as he does?
The scotch-and-milk in “Sonny's Blues” has multiple meanings. Explore at least two possible meanings. Review the story—has anything happened in the story that is reflected in aspects of what scotch and milk are, in those two drinks being mixed?
What is the point of view in "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin?
In "Sonny's Blues," what does Sonny's notebook with the green cover symbolize?
Why are the order of events in "Sonny's Blues" written in this manner? Is it effective?
What made Sonny use heroin in "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin?
What does "Sonny's Blues" imply about the relationship between life and art?
What is the conflict in James Baldwin's story "Sonny's Blues" that troubles a major character?
In "Sonny's Blues," why might traveling to India be appealing to Sonny?
In "Sonny's Blues," how does the mother's tale about the narrator's father and father's brother shed light on this story?
In "Sonny's Blues," what is the narrator's attitude toward his brother and how does his attitude change—not only about his brother Sonny, but about other things?
What does the narrator of “Sonny's Blues” mean by “the trap” and the “hidden menace”?
How would story change if it were told by Sonny?
How does the narator of "Sonny’s Blue's" change and what brings about his change?
What is the purpose of Mama's telling of the death of "Daddy's brother" in "Sonny's Blues"?
How did the author create the tone in Sonny's Blues?
What does the narrotor's mother ask him to do for Sonny? Does the older brother keep the promise?
In "Sonny's Blues," what is the climax for this story?
What are the events that occur in chronological order?
Discuss the nightclub scene in "Sonny's Blues." What does it represent for Sonny? What does it represent for the narrator?
What would be a good thesis statement for James Baldwin's short story, "Sonny's Blues," and why?
What is the climax, falling action and resolution of "Sonny's Blues"?
What is the importance of the flashbacks in "Sonny's Blues"?
Write a literary analysis on "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin. You must have a thesis, claims, and evidence to support your thesis. I need enough to write 4–5 pages.
What was the struggle of racism in "Sonny's Blues" and why?
How are Sonny and his brother alike in "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin?
How are the brothers different in "Sonny's Blues"?
What are the three dominant elements of fiction used in the story "Sonny's Blues" (e.g., character, conflict, point of view, setting, language, tone, etc.)? How do these three elements connect to the central idea?
What is the narrator's occupation/profession in "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin?
What is the relationship between the chronology and the plot of "Sonny's Blues"?
In "Sonny's Blues", how are the narrator and Sonny directly and indirectly characterized? In other words, show an example of how the narrator is both directly and indirectly characterized, and then an example of how Sonny is both is directly and indirectly characterized.
In Sonny's Blues, how do the narrator and Sonny react differently to pain and personal loss?
What is the role of music in “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin?
By comparing and contrasting the two brothers in "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin, identify the cause of their reconciliation.
What is Baldwin saying about suffering in "Sonny's Blues?"
What is the external conflict between the brothers in "Sonny's Blues"?
What does the "housing projects jutted up out of [the streets] now like rocks in the middle of a boiling sea" mean/symbolize in "Sonny's Blues"?
Write an argumentative essay about "Sonny's Blues."
Why is the name Grace symbolic in "Sonny's Blues"?
What is the resolution in "Sonny's Blues"?
What events prompt the narrator to write his brother in "Sonny's Blues"? How would this story be different if Sonny told it?
Discuss the significance of music in "Sonny's Blues." What kind of music is represented in this story? Discuss why these types of music are important to the story and how/why these particular types of music influence Sonny's life and the narrator's life.
Why does Sonny leave Isabel's family's home while the narrator is in the military in "Sonny's Blues?"