The Hydra Effect of Addiction in “Sonny’s Blues”: Critical Analysis

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Emotional strain over long periods of time can inevitably lead to the final failing of relationships. Substance abuse can change the individual’s behavior, they become more isolated; closing their family and friends off. They tend to avoid family or friends who have confronted them about their addiction, and some steal from their loved ones to finance their addiction which adds more strain on the already broken relationship. One example of fractured relationships because of addiction would be Sonny and his brother. As we see in “Sonny’s Blue’s” the narrator reaches out to his brother in jail and Sonny writes back “You don't know how much I needed to hear from you. I wanted to write you many a time but I dug how much I must have hurt you and so I didn't write. But now I feel like a man who's been trying to climb up out of some deep, really deep and funky hole and just saw the sun up there, outside.” (Baldwin 639). Sonny turns to drugs to escape his depressing and stressful environment. Which negatively impacts his relationship with his brother especially after Sonny gets arrested. This quote shows that they haven’t attempted to reach out to each other since Sonny got sent to jail. The author was frustrated and angry with Sonny’s drug addiction which ruined their relationship. Sonny feels guilty and ashamed because he knew that he has hurt his brother he says, “I’m glad Mama and Daddy are dead and can’t see what’s happened to their son” (639). He thinks it’s better to not have his family alive than have to live with the guilt of hurting them. Baldwin writes “He came by the house from time to time, but we fought almost every time we met.” (651) The author and Sonny couldn’t get past their differences because one is a drug addict and the other is a successful man with a family and a job.

In conclusion, addiction ruins more than one life. The addict and their family suffer emotionally, financially and it builds barriers between them. Relationships become hard to maintain since the addict puts less time and effort into the relationship which allows it to get harmed. Families often watch helplessly as they see their loved one fade away and get replaced by something or someone they don’t recognize anymore. It becomes a burden on the family because they feel responsible to cure them and it takes an emotional and financial toll on them. In most cases some may not hear from their addicted loved ones, only to find out that they’ve been homeless or have overdosed. This Shocking news can cause trauma for the family which can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as addiction.

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The Hydra Effect of Addiction in “Sonny’s Blues”: Critical Analysis. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
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