“Sonny’s Blues” and “Confronting Resistance”

This weeks reading seems to have taken on a new purpose, establishing the difference between reading and interpretation. When I first read “Sonny’s Blues” I was surprised by the emotional response I had, how the narrators thoughts and actions elicited sympathetic reactions. Perhaps I was in the rights state of mind, or perhaps it was my own personal history and experiences which enables my understanding, but I found the short story to be alluring beyond any other recent work I have read. This makes me question the quote Wilner took form Scholes, “If we impose our own values on every text, we have nothing to criticize but ourselves” (177). I would question the validity of such a statement when our personal values illuminate our readings, yet it is reasonable to believe that some values may overshadow other interpretations. Despite my reaction, there were moments where I had to pause and collect my thoughts, to gather the evidence and carefully examine the actions of the story to make sense of what happened. This most often took place when the narrator skipped on the timeline, such as his transition from learning of Sonny’s incarceration to his own daughter’s death, or how he discussed his parents in the past tense, and then they were back alive in a brief flashback. The structure of this story keeps me on my toes, thinking and connecting the thoughts of the narrator, and trying to figure out what was going on inside of his mind.
Despite some of difficulties with following the narration, only one moment stopped me in my tracks. The absolute, final line made me question and consider the possible implications of the cup of trembling and Sonny’s Scotch and milk. The drink itself, a Scotch and milk, is enough think about, but the composition of the mixture is most likely a distraction from the more important allusion to the biblical passage. Thank goodness for foot notes. Yet even the most detailed foot notes leave some room for interpretation, and at this point I still see the “cup of trembling” in both a positive and negative light. It may represent the penumbra in which Sunny is left, but I would prefer that it means the narrator is now able to see just how close Sunny needs to stand beside the darkness in order to shine.
My above interpretation brings me back again to Wilner, as he discussed how students may not share in the same “enlightened” ideas from reading the same literature. Each reader comes to a work with their own perspective, which may enlighten their reading, but not necessarily in the same fashion as other readers.