Analysis Of James Baldwin 's Sonny 's Blues Essay

1147 Words Feb 24th, 2016 5 Pages
The function of a narrator in any story is to do just that, to narrate the story. However, skilled authors realize that narrators do so much more than simply narrate: they are an essential component of how the story is expressed. Decisions such as having a third person, first person, or omniscient narrator are critical to point of view. In the case of this story, if the narrator had been Sonny himself, the story would be significantly one dimensional; having the brother narrate provides a powerful basis for comparison of life in Harlem. In the short story “Sonny’s Blues”, James Baldwin uses Sonny’s brother, the narrator, to add a layer of meaning to the story that would not exist if the story were told from a third person point of view.
Despite the fact that the narrator spent most of his childhood with his brother and essentially helped his mom to raise him, “the seven years’ difference in our ages lay between us like a chasm” (35). Since the narrator had a large role in Sonny’s life, “I had been there when he was born,” and “I had heard the first words he had ever spoken” (35), the reader would naturally assume that these moments would create a special bond between the two boys, but such bonds did not develop. A disconnect is exhibited to such an extent that one has not seen the other (or even kept in touch) for several years. The fact that the narrator is so concerned about his brother portrays him as a vulnerable person and makes the story much more personal and…

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