There are a lot of conflicts at work in "Sonny's Blues
." The overarching conflict in the story is that between black existence and white society, and this has strongly influenced how the narrator views the world. He describes the struggle of growing up in Harlem, where many succumb to drug use, and many never escape. He has dedicated himself to teaching because he believes this is the only way to overcome the difficulty of being black in the sort of white world where a black man can be murdered with few repercussions. The speaker describes how badly affected his father was by his brother's murder, and this has reverberated down to the narrator as well.
The conflict between the narrator and Sonny, then, derives from the fact that they negotiate their black existences very differently. Sonny has chosen to devote himself to music, which the narrator does not understand. He is also critical of Sonny's drug use, which he thinks is symptomatic of the people he associates with in the music...
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