49 pages 1 hour read

James Baldwin

Sonny's Blues

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1957

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Reading Questions & Paired Texts

Reading Check and Short Answer Questions on key plot points are designed for guided reading assignments, in-class review, formative assessment, quizzes, and more.

Reading Check

1. How is the narrator related to Sonny?

2. What subject does the narrator teach?

3. Who is Isabel?

4. How did Gracie die?

5. To which drug does Sonny have an addiction?

Short Answer

Answer each question in at least 1 complete sentence. Incorporate details from the text to support your response.

1. What news is the narrator reading about at the beginning of the story?

2. What does Sonny’s friend ask the narrator for right before Sonny gets on the subway?

3. What does the narrator’s mother ask of him before she dies?

4. What is the narrator’s main concern regarding Sonny’s desire to be a musician?

5. What does the narrator finally realize about Sonny’s relationship with music?

Paired Resource

Heroin DrugFacts

  • This resource from the National Institute on Drug Abuse provides information regarding the effects of heroin, overdose treatment information, and how heroin addiction is treated.
  • What does this article reveal about the theme of The Struggles of Heroin Addiction? Based on what you read, what can you infer about Sonny and his use of heroin?

Keep Your Brain Young with Music

  • This article from Johns Hopkins Medicine details the various benefits of listening to music.
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