What does the narrator read in the exposition of "Sonny's Blues"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator reads about his brother Sonny in the newspaper as he rides the subway to the school where he teaches. Sonny has been arrested in a raid for selling and using heroin.

Because he has lost touch with his brother, the narrator is shocked by the news. Also, he recalls their youth together, and he remarks that although Sonny was wild, he had never turned "hard or evil or disrespectful." Now, he tries to imagine Sonny as an addict, with "all that light in his face gone out." Still, he remembers that when Sonny was young, he did use heroin.

After school, the narrator sees a young man standing in the darkness of a doorway. This young man looks familiar; he is a boy from their neighborhood in Harlem. At one time, he was a friend of Sonny's. Shuffling over to the narrator, the young man speaks to the narrator: "I see you got the papers. So you already know about it." Although the narrator is rather curt with him, the young man walks along and tells the narrator he "felt sort of responsible" for what happened to Sonny. He explains that he never gave Sonny anything, but once he came to school high and Sonny asked him how it felt. "I told him it felt great." As they continue to talk, the young man tells his brother that Sonny will be sent off someplace. Thus begins the brother's resumed involvement with his brother.

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Sonny's Blues

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