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'"You know people can't always do exactly what they want to do -"' (91). This is the attitude of the narrator towards his brother Sonny in the beginning of "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin. '"I think people ought to do what they want to do, what else are they alive for?"' (91). This is Sonny's attitude throughout the story. The narrator's attitude changes as he learns to understand his brother and what he is going through throughout the story.
The parents of Sonny and the narrator died by the time Sonny was in high school. This left the narrator in a father role for Sonny. Sonny and his brother grew up in Harlem with limited options open to them. Although they had grown up in the same house under the same conditions, they have both taken away two completely different views on life. The narrator, who is an Algebra teacher, feels that
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heroine, music, does not follow, high school, a different light, Algebra, Blues, teacher, A Life, dream, bandstands, Harlem, clowning, nightclubs, imaginative, Lesson, drummer, crazy, drugs, ongoing, conditions, beliefs, room, other people, society, the feeling, the music,