What are the events that occur in chronological order?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Sonny’s Blues in chronological plot order:

  1. Sonny’s dad’s brother is run over by a car of white men long before his sons are born, and it can be inferred that this trauma is at the root of his alcohol addiction.
  2. Sonny’s parents have church people over at their house and...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Sonny’s Blues in chronological plot order:

  1. Sonny’s dad’s brother is run over by a car of white men long before his sons are born, and it can be inferred that this trauma is at the root of his alcohol addiction.
  2. Sonny’s parents have church people over at their house and they talk about their personal pain and suffering with one another, but they do not talk in too great of detail, because they want to protect their childrens’ innocence as long as possible.
  3. Sonny is 14 years old and tells the narrator he wants to go to India to obtain “wisdom.”
  4. At age 15, while the narrator is away at war, their dad dies while drinking.
  5. Somewhere in Sonny’s teen years, his drug-using friend tell him that dope feels good. It can be inferred from later conversations that this interaction happens after Sonny’s dad dies, as Sonny mentions that drugs are a way to cope with pain.
  6. The narrator returns home while on leave from the Army. His mom tells him about his uncle was murdered by a car load of white men as a youth, and how the narrator’s dad witnessed it. She says, “Your Daddy never did really get right again,” meaning he became psychologically fragile, which was shown in his suspicious fears of all white men. The narrator promises his mom he will be there for Sonny no matter what.
  7. The narrator gets married and is shipped back off to war.
  8. The narrator’s mom dies while the narrator is away at war.
  9. After their mom's funeral, and with a year of high school still remaining for Sonny, Sonny tells his brother he wants to drop out, learn to play Jazz, and join the Navy or Army.
  10. The narrator discourages Sonny from joining the Navy or Army, and they all (Sonny, the narrator, and Isabel) move in with Isabel's parents.
  11. Sonny practices piano all the time, and starts to skip school for his drug habit.
  12. The school sends letters about Sonny’s absences, but Sonny destroys most of them before they can be read. Isabel’s mom receives the last letter, and becomes angry. She makes it clear to Sonny that both he and his music are a burden to her, and that she only tolerates Sonny for his brother’s sake.
  13. Sonny leaves to join the Navy.
  14. The war ends.
  15. Sonny moves in with people in “The Village.” The implication is that they are all heroin addicts.
  16. The narrator hunts Sonny down to find him, and they fight. Sonny treats his addict roommates like they are his new family, and pushes his brother away.
  17. After a long estrangement from his brother, the narrator reads about Sonny’s apartment being raided for heroin.
  18. The narrator teaches his Algebra classes, and while making observations about his students' laughter, he begins to reflect on how Sonny used to be as a kid.
  19. The narrator meets Sonny’s addict friend outside his school. He has come to tell the narrator about Sonny, to see if the narrator can do anything to help Sonny, and to say he feels partly responsible Sonny’s heroin addiction.
  20. The narrator’s daughter, Grace, dies unexpectedly from Polio as a two year old. At the funeral, the narrator writes to Sonny. Sonny writes back, mending the bridges he burned.
  21. After Sonny is released, the narrator meets his brother in New York and they drive around familiar locations on the way to the housing project where the narrator lives.
  22. Sonny lives with the narrator and his family. While he is living there, a revival happens on their block, and Sonny goes to listen to the music. He is interested in one of the women singing, who people there call “Sister.” She seems to be singing to feel "in control." He relates the sound of her voice to the feeling of being high.
  23. Sonny talks to the narrator about his drug addiction, and about how he used drugs as a way to cope with the suffering of his life. He expresses that he cannot understand why people have to suffer, and that heroin is just a way to "stand it." He warns his brother that he could fall into the habit again.
  24. Sonny takes his brother to the nightclub. The narrator sees that Sonny is respected as a great musician: “Here I was in Sonny’s world. Or, rather, his kingdom. Here, it was not even a question his veins were royal blood.”
  25. Sonny plays with Creole on the stage in the nightclub. It is the first time he has played in about a year. The music helps the narrator to understand what Sonny’s blues are all about. The music is an expression of all the pain he has endured, and the people listening can relate to it. Music is Sonny's way of understanding human suffering, and it is also his way of helping other people understand.
  26. The narrator buys Sonny a drink.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team