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Author Question: From whose point of view is Sonnys Blues told? How do the narrators values and experiences affect ... (Read 759 times)

ETearle

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From whose point of view is Sonnys Blues told? How do the narrators values and experiences affect his view of the story?
 
  What will be an ideal response?

Question 2

How would you describe the dynamic between Sister and Stella-Rondo?Why does the rest of the family seem to side with Stella-Rondo? Why does Sister fight so much with her family?
 
  What will be an ideal response?



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johnharpe

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Answer to Question 1


  • Although the storys title implies that it is about Sonny, this is actually a story narrated by the unnamed older brother about his own transformation. The basic conflict of the story is the narrators inability to understand and respect the life of the younger brother he so clearly loves.



Baldwin carefully establishes the brothers as opposites. The narrator is a cautious, respectable family man. He teaches math and is proud of his professional standing. Living in a Harlem housing project, he consciously protects himself and his family from the dangers that surround him. He wants to avoid the illegal, dishonest activities of those around him, and he chooses to work hard rather than obtaining money the easy way through drug dealing. His identification with Louis Armstrong rather than Charlie Parker reveals much about his view of race and culture. Notice how intensely he appears to dislike Sonnys friend, the drug addict, when he encounters him in the school courtyard at the beginning of the story. However, the narrator is also compassionate, and it is important to see, in the same episode, how quickly he recognizes and responds to the addicts battered humanity. That gesture prefigures his reconciliation with his brother by the end of the story.

Answer to Question 2


  • Sisters series of hostile encounters with the other members of her family is set in motion by the jealousy reawakened in Sister by StellaRondos return to her China Grove home with Shirley T. following her separation from her husband, Mr. Whitaker, the taker of Pose Yourself photos from Illinois. (Sister believes that Stella-Rondo stole Mr. Whitaker from her.) The storys opening paragraphs frame Sisters narrative by emphasizing the differences between herself and Stella-Rondo. We learn that Stella-Rondo, who had just separated from her husband and came back home again, married Mr. Whitaker after having broken up his alleged prior relationship with Sister through a deliberate calculated falsehood. She now threatens Sisters relationship with her family, with whom she was getting along fine in Stella-Rondos absence. We also immediately witness Sisters amusingly irrational assertion that Stella-Rondo is spoiled because shes exactly twelve months to the day younger than Sister. And we hear a crucial detail about StellaRondo that so incites Sisters jealousy: She always had anything in the world she wanted and then shed throw it away, from this gorgeous Add-a-Pearl necklace to her husband.



Sisters implication to her mother that Shirley T.s silence might be a sign of mental illness is comically overturned when the girl bursts into song and proves to be an adept tap dancer as well. This incident leads Sister to claim that Stella-Rondo has turned more family members against her:
But Mama just turned on her heel and flew out, furious. She ran right upstairs and hugged the baby. She believed it was adopted. Stella-Rondo hadnt done a thing but turn her against me from upstairs while I stood there helpless over the hot stove. So that made Mama, Papa-Daddy and the baby all on StellaRondos side.
If Stella-Rondos calculated falsehoodtelling Mr. Whitaker that Sister was one sided. Bigger on one side than the otherresulted in her marriage, escape to the North, and the apparent bearing of a daughter before her return to her family, the lies she tells when she does return lead to Sisters shorter flight to her isolation at the P.O. The first of these lies is to tell her mother that Shirley-T.s adopted, I can prove it.
Whereas the mother is willing to believe Stella-Rondo (She looks just like Shirley Temple to me), Sister insists that She looks just like a cross between Mr. Whitaker and Papa-Daddy. Sister claims to have told Stella-Rondo that Shirley T. was the spit-image of Papa-Daddy if hed cut his beard, which of course hed never do in the world. Stella-Rondo, however, turns Papa-Daddy against Sister by reporting to him that Sister says she fails to understand why you dont cut off your beard.



ETearle

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Both answers were spot on, thank you once again




 

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