Sonny’s Blues


James Baldwin

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Sonny’s Blues can help.

The Cup of Trembling

At the end of the story the narrator has had an epiphany due to Sonny’s music, and Baldwin introduces a symbol—“the cup of trembling”—to encapsulate the moment. This image is about salvation, and it…

(read full symbol analysis)


Throughout the story, Baldwin uses imagery of darkness to signal the dangers and traumas of growing up black in Harlem. This begins early on; in the first paragraph, when the narrator is reeling from the…

(read full symbol analysis)