discussion question 815

Read “Sonny’s Blues” in 100 Years of The Best American Short Storiesor here.

Think about Baldwin’s conversational writing style for peppering the paragraphs with the narrator’s emotive reactions to bad news. An example is found on page 181: “A block of ice got settled in my belly…” While you are reading, examine added flashbacks that show regret and mature insight into past events.

In your initial post, consider the following elements of style:

  • How is character voice used to show anecdotes from different characters, such as Sonny’s letter on page 186 and the anecdote from Sonny’s mom on page 191 that starts with “Your daddy once had a brother…”?
  • What did you learn from this story about character voice as well as about nonchronological presentation of scenes?
  • How can you apply these principles to your own story?

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