Sonny Blues Informal Response


Close Reading
: read the last paragraph of Sonnys Blues. Pay attention to the invocation of the cup of trembling and the footnote explaining the reference to Isaiah 51.17, 2223. Write a short informal response paperno more than a pageabout the significance of this phrase and the relationship between its role as the concluding line of the story and its use in the biblical book of Isaiah.

The Cup of the Lords Wrath

17 Awake, awake!
    Rise up, Jerusalem,
you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord
    the cup of his wrath,
you who have drained to its dregs
    the goblet that makes people stagger.
18 Among all the children she bore
    there was none to guide her;
among all the children she reared
    there was none to take her by the hand.
19 These double calamities have come upon you
    who can comfort you?
ruin and destruction, famine and sword
    who can20 Your children have fainted;
    they lie at every street corner,
    like antelope caught in a net.
They are filled with the wrath of the Lord,
    with the rebuke of your God.

21 Therefore hear this, you afflicted one,
    made drunk, but not with wine.
22 This is what your Sovereign Lord says,
    your God, who defends his people:
See, I have taken out of your hand
    the cup that made you stagger;
from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,
    you will never drink again.
23 I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,
    who said to you,
    Fall prostrate that we may walk on you.
And you made your back like the ground,
    like a street to be walked on.

Sonny Blues Informal Response

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Is Sonny likened to Jerusalem, which has drunk out of the cup in the biblical verse? Is the narrator likening himself to the Lord, who both gives and takes away the cup? What does it mean that, in the biblical verse, Jerusalem is told it shalt no more drink it again? Who in the story might represent them that afflict thee in the verse? Is it significant that the cup in Baldwins story is filled with a combination of Scotch and milk?

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