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Sonny and Gregor

14 Nov 2016Literature Essays

In "Sonny's Blues", Sonny sees himself as the typical individual who is curious about the world that envelopes his being, especially the things a person may not have experienced yet but has the subtle hint of eagerness to try things out all for the name of being acquainted with the unfamiliar. There is little doubt to believe that Sonny sees himself this way for the reason that at some point he asked his friend what heroin was like and was told that "it" felt quite good. Another interesting thing to look into is the fact that Sonny wanted to be a jazz musician just like his father's brother. The fact that Sonny kept it as a profound secret tells us that he sees himself just like his father's brother although apparently, he was not able to manage and gather enough confidence to stand up firmly on his own desires and fulfill them just like how a normal human being would. On the other hand, Gregor sees himself as the individual capable r at least willing to continue with life amidst struggles just to serve those whom he fears most in his life. Despite physical restraints that limit his capability to fulfill his goals, his willingness remains at the core of his consciousness. Not even transforming him into a bug will drain away his desire to work. With this regard, Gregor further sees himself as a strong individual not deterred by the weakness that life may draw upon him.

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These characters perhaps maintain the opposite ends in terms of the changes in their lives. On one hand, Gregor is evidently seen as a 'changed' individual after being mysteriously transformed into a seemingly monstrous vermin. On the other hand, Sonny is seen as a 'static' person from the middle part to the last parts of the story, unable to change his ways especially in terms of his unrelenting or unwavering dependence on prohibited drugs in order to go on with his music. However, the 'change' in Sonny can be observed from the time when he engaged into the using and selling of prohibited drugs. From then on, Sonny was unable to rise above his predicament. Instead, this 'predicament' for others turned into a contributing factor in the musical inclination of Sonny.

Because of these things, there are other characters in the story who say things about Gregor and Sonny. For instance, Sonny's brother has a lot of things to say about Sonny to the family of Sonny's brother such as telling him about his habit of addiction to prohibit drugs and how he uses it to sustain his musical performances. A friend of Sonny further reveals to Sonny's brother the details of how Sonny gets acquainted with the 'drug' through his brother. On the other hand, Gregor's family essentially speaks about him in a manner in which he would be able to survive his ordeal. By keeping him in a room isolated from the rest of the people who might have the interest to enter their lives and worsen the situation, Gregor's family opted to keep him in the room for his protection and for his family as well. They say that Gregor is the only one working in the family which eventually made them realize to find jobs on their own in order to sustain their daily subsistence. These things eventually point us to the idea that both Gregor and Sonny have interacted quite well with these 'other' characters in the story.

For one, Gregor's interaction with the other characters in the story is manifested through the way in which his family took the responsibility of watching over him in his condition. While being a monstrous vermin, the situation of Gregor can be easily conceived in one's mind: a soul willing to push through with life but is unable to do so, hindered in no small way by his 'new' body in which he grew captive until his last days. Through the help and music of his sister, Gregor is able to connect to the 'other' characters in the story. As for Sonny, the interaction with the rest of the characters in the story revolves around the narration of his brother concerning the experiences he had with his brother from childhood until they grew into adults. The effect of the words of Sonny's friend had a lasting impression on him, especially with regard to the case when Sonny learned that drugs made him feel good. Another point of interaction between Sonny and the characters in the story is the time when the friend of Sonny 'accompanied' him, so to speak, during the formative years of his life and later on. From then on Sonny learned how to use the drug—to his musical advantage. Further, Sonny is also seen interacting with the family of his brother, especially at dinner together with his brother's wife, discussing things which seemed to alter his life. As he was asked to stay with Isabel while he was away, the interaction is supposed to grow. Apparently, Isabel's piano kept Sonny busy as he explored the depths of his musical inclinations a step further.

One similarity between Gregor and Sonny is the fact that both underwent a struggle in their lives which significantly shifted the way in which their world revolved around them. For instance, Gregor's transformation into a vermin greatly affected the way in which he lived his life and the way in which his family behaved which eventually turned out to be for the good. On the other hand, Sonny's situation reflects the struggle of an individual to escape the clutches or reaches of his drug habits by leaving Harlem. Eventually, Sonny failed to do so because of his brother's firm decision not to let him leave their place. In the end, Sonny was the draw even closer to is habits, filling his music with intense passion with the big help of the drugs that he is using. One major difference between Gregor and Sonny is the fact that their struggles are specifically delineated by their scope. While Gregor's struggle seems surreal and more of the physical and emotional aspects, Sonny's condition is related to psychological and emotional aspects. In essence, the authors/narrators of the two stories portray the characters of Sonny and Gregor as individuals struggling to stand on their own amidst the challenges and hindrances that deter them much like the common dealings of humanity from across the globe.


  • Baldwin, James. "Sonny's Blues". November 13, 2007.
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