What has made Sonny use heroin? "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin

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In the story "Sonny's Blues," Sonny says...

...what heroin feels like sometimes-when it's in your veins. It makes you feel sort of warm and cool at the same time. And distant. And- and sure." He sipped his beer, very deliberately not looking at me. I watched his face. "It makes you feel-in control. Sometimes you've got to have that feeling."

When Sonny speaks, he refers to suffering in life. And as he tries to describe it to his brother, he says that everyone suffers and everyone tries to find the best way to deal with it. While the narrator believes that the drug will kill the user and that somehow that is the user's intent, what Sonny says is that he only wants to survive and he sees the heroin as his lifeline.

Listening to Sonny, the reader learns that other users he knows all need the drug, but handle the addiction in different ways: accepting that it's a part of life, or denying it altogether.

Perhaps the control Sonny feels keeps the fear at bay: the fear of suffering—the same fear...

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