Dysfunctional Relationships Between Sonny's Blues and Shiloh

Good Essays
Jeremy Raymond
Professor Gazzara
ENG 102-109
April 6th, 2013
It Takes Two To Tango What makes a relationship dysfunctional? Is it the changes one sees in another whether they be physical, emotional, or financial? Is it a change in their own personality that is now changing their views on their family member or significant other? Tina B. Tessina defines a dysfunctional relationship as this: Dysfunctional Relationships are relationships that do not perform their appropriate function; that is, they do not emotionally support the participants, foster communication among them, appropriately challenge them, or prepare or fortify them for life in the larger world. (Tessina 1) In "Sonny 's Blues" and "Shiloh", we see two different types
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The death of their child spurred the brother into writing to his troubled brother Sonny. Sonny was the younger brother of the two who has been through many difficult life lessons throughout his short life so far. Sonny has suffered from a heroin addiction which landed him in a local jail which further weakened the bond between the two brothers. Sonny 's brother has lived in Harlem and has seen heroin addicts and victims of alcoholism and has showed no remorse for them. We see Sonny 's brothers intolerance for the men around Harlem who suffer from an addiction when he is talking to an old friend of Sonny 's after he leaves the school one day. "Look. Don’t tell me your sad story, if it was up to me, I 'd give you one." (294). This shows how Sonny 's brother is indifferent regarding people who have suffered from a addiction. While Sonny was in jail, the relationship continued to dwindle. After Sonny 's release from prison, their relationship began to heal. In addition to his drug addiction, Sonny 's inability to decide on a career in life irritates his brother. Sonny 's aspirations spread as far as India, a military job stationed throughout the world , and/or landing a job as a musician in his hometown of Harlem. This inconsistency of Sonny enrages his older brother, who has made a promise with their mother to look after him and make sure he grows up to be a proper man. In contrast to the relationship between Norma Jean and Leroy, Sonny and his brothers
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