Why is this story called "Sonny's Blues"? 

Expert Answers

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

Sonny is the main character in this story, which is told by his older brother, who is saddened when Sonny is jailed after being busted for drug possession. The "Sonny" in the title therefore literally refers to the character of Sonny. But "Sonny" is also a pun on the word "sunny," which evokes bright imagery.

"Blues" is also a pun. Sonny has blues or sorrows because, despite his talents, he can't seem to get his life together or shake his drug addictions. He also has the sorrows that are inherent to being a black man in a white world, what with the legacy of slavery behind his people. However, the word "blues "also has a double meaning. It is the type of beautiful, melancholic jazz Sonny plays, which expresses the bittersweet longing of the black people and the black soul.

The title captures the paradox that the older brother tries to come to grip with: Sonny is both sunny (talented, his father's favorite, and like a "king" in his nightclub) and blue or depressed. His blues or sorrows are bad...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 617 words.)

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
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team