Sonny Is A Heroin Addict

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Since Sonny was a heroin addict for most of his life, his perception of the world is entirely different than that of his brother, which is why he needs alternative methods, such as music, to convey his own reality to others. In a letter to his brother, Sonny has difficulty explaining his situation and expressing what he is feeling in written form. He writes: "I can 't tell you much about how I got here. I mean I don 't know how to tell you. I guess I was afraid of something or I was trying to escape from something" (127). Despite being released from prison and breaking free from the physical barriers in his life, Sonny still struggles to break free from a more powerful and influential mental barrier, as he feels trapped within his own
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As a result, the narrator 's lack of understanding creates a barrier in his relationship with his brother, because even though the narrator has witnessed music within his community and has seen how it can be used as a form of expression, he does not yet realize the connections that he has with music and other artists within the community.

Later in the novel, Sonny and his brother get into a dispute about whether or not there is truly a way to end suffering. The narrator poses a difficult question to Sonny: "But there 's no way not to suffer- is there Sonny?" To which Sonny responds with a smile: "I believe not, but that 's never stopped anyone from trying" (143). Sonny goes on further to emphasize that "there ' no way not to suffer. But you can try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it, to keep on top of it...You 're just hung up on the way some people try—it 's not your way" (143). Following this comment, the narrator gives Sonny some insight into his own feelings towards suffering (specifically the suffering that Sonny has endured over the past few years): "The hair on [his] face began to itch, [his] face felt wet. 'That 's not true ', he said, 'I just care how you suffer...I don 't want to see you—die—trying not to suffer '" (143). Up until this point, the narrator has not actually shared his own
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