Internal and External Conflict In James Baldwin’s Story “Sonny Blues”

There are instances of both internal and external conflict in Sonny Blues. One of the instances of external conflict is noted between Sunny and his brother regarding his career, education, and where he should stay after the death of their mother. Sunny wanted to be a musician, to join the army and to get out of the town, while his brother wanted him to move in with s and her family and complete his studies as he chose a more decent career (Mays 102-105). Although this was resolved it propagated more conflicts. Another major conflict was between Sunny and Isabel’s mother and the rest of the family. This happened after learning that on top of his weird behaviors he was not attending his classes. This resulted to serious fallout resulting to Sunny walking out of his guardian’s house (p.106). The other conflict was recorded between Sunny and his brother after he came back from army mission and meeting his brother in New York again after he left his Guardian’s home. This period depicted a number of external conflicts between the two, especially due to variation in lifestyle, life interest, and definition of decent living between the two. The major conflict and fallout is seen when the narrator argues with his brother regarding his lifestyle and Sunny push him outside the door declaring him dead to him (p.107). The external conflicts are resolved when Sunny speaks out and invites his brother to one of his performance at the end of the story.

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Internal conflict can be denoted in the mind of the narrator regarding whether to get in touch with brother after arrest or not. His mind was in an internal conflict ever since he received the message of his arrest to the first time he considered writing to him (p.93-97). Internal conflict can also be noted after welcoming Sonny to New York following his release. The narrator holds a lot to himself in fear of Sunny’s reaction. The same case also seems to happen in Sunny’s mind where he is not able to resolve on what to say or not to say to his brother (p.99). Another instance of internal conflict is when Sunny brother cannot decide on whether to search Sunny’s room or not after staying with his family for two weeks (p.107). Sunny also seems to experience internal conflict on whether to share his drugs life experience with his brother or not, in their final intimate talk (p.110-112). The conflict is resolved when the two brothers sat and talked it out, Sunny narrating part of his life and suffering as his brother listened

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