Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin was a short story where the narrator tells the story about the relationship he had with his brother, Sonny, and himself growing up in the streets of Harlem. He tells about his brother's drug addition and how he was supposed to protect him after his mother passed away. The narrator and Sonny grew closer together towards the ending of the story, not only as brothers, but as good friends.
The narrator lived in Harlem in the projects with his little family, his wife and kids. He had a career as a math teacher. He had difficulties expressing himself about his feelings and ideas until his daughter died. The narrator wrote a letter to him brother that was locked up in jail confiding in him.. The narrator's wife, Isabel, helped Sonny to be comfortable while he stood in their Harlem home. He believed that he was supposed to look after his brother after his mother's death because she had told him that Sonny wasn't going to have anyone to be there for him if she was to die. " 'If anything happens to me he ain't going to have anyone to look out for him' ". After Sonny, was released from jail, the narrator didn't believe that Sonny could stop his drug use no matter how much he cared about him because the way Sonny expressed himself when he heard the woman singing at the meeting across the street from his home.
Sonny was the brother of the narrator who got locked up for doing heroin. He was a jazz musician and used his music to express himself. He wrote a letter to his brother telling him that he wanted to quit using drugs and blamed his musician career on the reason why he used heroin because he said it helped him play. He believed that he wasn't strong enough to stop himself from using heroin before getting locked up. " 'I guess I was afraid of something or I was trying to escape from something and you know I have never been very strong in the head" '. He was only one out of the brothers who left Harlem to go to the army somewhere in Greece. He didn't want to deal with the dangerous streets of Harlem.