Kristy's Reviews > Sonny's Blues

Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin
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's review
Oct 01, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: short-stories

There is lots of great imagery in this story:
- "My clothes were wet – I may have looked as though I’d been sitting in a steam bath, all dressed up, all afternoon"
- "He wanted Sonny to leave the shoreline and strike out for the deep water. He was Sonny’s witness that deep water and drowning were not the same thing "
- "…like an animal waiting to be coaxed into the light."
and there are so much more!

What I also found quite interesting and cunning were the instances were dialogue and action/setting coincide, e.g. "Maybe he’ll even think he’s kicked the habit. Then they’ll let him loose” – he gestured, throwing his cigarette into the gutter. “That’s all”" He throws his cigarette in the gutter and at the same time he is suggesting that Sonny will end up in the gutter/bad again when he is released from the rehabilitation center.

Furthermore, the story of the narrator’s and Sonny’s father I was quite shocking. I think this piece of the text is beautifully verbalized. There is a polysendetonnic structure, where the mother is telling the narrator the story of his father and the loss of his father's brother. This gives a fast passing impression and really gets you into the panic of the moment.


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