sonnys blues.txt

  1. who wrote, "Sonnys Blues"?
    James Arthur Baldwin
  2. what makes Sonny, "Christ-like"?
    him willing to lay his life/burden down, in hopes that his audience will be blessed by his reflective/sometimes disturbing music

    • almost even seems heroic.
  3. Elements of a Story
    • 1. plot --
    • 2. action--
    • 3. exposition>> intro of characters/setting, and often destablishes history--sets off a new course of events
    • 4. rising action>> intro of a new course of events
    • 5. turning point>> decisions/realizations/flashbacks
    • 6. falling point>> Reverse movements
    • 7. denouncement > conclusion
  4. According to Donald Miller, what is the basic structure of a story?
    a story that involved a character who wants something and has to overcome conflict in order to get it
  5. how does Miller's definition of a basic structured story relate to sonnys blues?
    • the narrator has to overcome the fact that his brother is a heroin addict, and that he is responsible now for taking care of him (due to their mom's sickness)
    • the narrator also has to overcome that fact that no matter how much he wishes his brother SOnny wasnt a musician, sonny was determined to be a musician
    • the narrator needs to overcome his own pride before he is able to write his brother (sonny) a letter, to check in with him and see how he is doing
  6. theme of "sonnys blues"
    • despite family differences and conflicts, you love each other no matter the circumstance, and care about their well-being
    • suffering is unavoidable
  7. who is Creole?
    • Sonny's friend that the narrator pre-judges
    • he is the foil character because he compares himself to Sonny, and wants to be like him, yet he remains responsible for his own being
  8. what lesson does the narrator learn at the end of the story? ( sonnys blues)
    that simply listening to Sonny play music, and spending time with him would cure his addictions/suffering
  9. what made the narrator finally realize the suffering his brother, Sonny, was going through?
    the death of his daughter brought sonny's suffering to a reality
  10. what is the motif in "sonnys blues"?
    • light/darkness: darkness supports the theme being "suffering"
    • - uncles dies during the night (darkness), streets and bar are always "dark",

    Sonny’s life in prison, his addiction to drugs, and the general state of life in Harlem are all embodied by the darkness

    Light, ultimately, comes to signify salvation, comfort, and love, whereas darkness represents the fear and desolation that always threatens to extinguish it
  11. explain how the two brothers (narrator and sonny) can be a paralell to the brotherly relationship of cain and abel in the bible
    The dynamic between the two brothers echoes, in part, the relationship between the brothers Cain and Abel in the Bible. In that narrative, Cain, after murdering Abel, asks whether he is supposed to be his brother’s keeper. The narrator, following his mother’s death, is presented with a similar dilemma. Since their mother’s death, Sonny’s life has been marred by prison and drug abuse. The tension between the two brothers is so great that after one particular fight, Sonny tells his brother to consider him dead from that point on, a statement that, again, deliberately echoes the biblical narrative of Cain and Abel. Like Cain, the narrator turns his back on his brother and fails, at first, to respond to Sonny when he is prison. He has failed to live up to his mother’s commandment that he watch over his brother—but the failure is only temporary. By the end of the story, the narrator has taken Sonny back into his home. He finally takes on the role of his brother’s keeper, constantly watching and worrying over Sonny as he emerges from the darkness of prison and drug abuse.
Card Set
sonnys blues.txt
sonnys blues flashcards