In "Sonny's Blues," what did Sonny and his brother suffer?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Sonny's Blues," Sonny and his brother, the narrator, both suffer from the disconnect in their relationship.  While growing up, Sonny and the narrator have limited options, and both end up taking very different paths to realize their dreams.  Sonny has always loved music, but many barriers have stood in the way of his becoming a musician.  Sonny ends up in jail and addicted to drugs.  The narrator, on the other hand, eventually becomes a teacher.  But the two brothers are not connected and the narrator cannot understand why Sonny has chosen to live his life the way he has.  The two suffer because of this disconnect until the end of the story when the narrator finally starts to understand Sonny's love of music.