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Sonny’s Blues Reading Questions

September 24, 2011

1.     Harlem is a powerful presence in the story. Describe how this world has positively and negatively shaped each brother. Is it a more hospitable world than the South their parents knew? What evidence do you see of community in their world?

2.     The story has many flashbacks and memories: the story of Sonny’s high school friend; Sonny’s dream of going to India; the brothers’ drive through their childhood neighborhood; their father’s attitude; the old folks at Sunday dinners; their mother’s death; their mother’s story of their uncle’s death; the brothers’ relationship after their mother’s death; and Sonny’s life after he left Isabel’s. How do each of these memories help you understand the present action? Look at parallels between both sets of brothers and the promises the narrator and Sonny make.

3.     Re-read the final two paragraphs of the story. What has the narrator learned? What have you, as a reader, learned?


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