It’s All Over Baby Blue

Approximately eight pages into “Sonny’s Blues,” the narrator recalls speaking with his mother about a terrible incident involving the death of his uncle. After she has shared this story, the mother urges her son, “You got to hold on to your brother…and don’t let him fall, no matter what it looks like is happening to him and no matter how evil you gets with him. You going to be evil with him many a time. But don’t you forget what I told you, you hear?” The narrator promises that he will not forget; he will not let anything happen to Sonny. Does he keep his promise to his mother? Explain. (10 pts.)    What, if anything, does “Sonny’s Blues” teach the reader about the importance of art (as expressed through music in this story), and the sacrifices one makes to create it? Is there anything in the story that leads the reader to believe Sonny will “stay straight”? (10 pts.)  Carver delays Robert’s entrance into the storyline of “Cathedral,” so we can learn a bit about our narrator. Name three pre-conceived notions the narrator has about the blind before he meets Robert. Where do they come from? Explain how Robert dispels the narrator’s preconceived impressions when he arrives for his visit. (10 pts.)  Is the narrator of “Cathedral” a sympathetic character? Why or why not? (5 pts).   Why does Robert have the narrator draw the cathedral? What does the narrator learn in the process? (5 pts.)   Joyce Carol Oates creates quite a memorable antagonist in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”  Name at least one aspect of Arnold Friend’s personal appearance, car, and friend – Ellie Oscar – that indicate Arnold is a fraudulent teen. (6 pts.)  Why does Connie decide to go with Arnold and Ellie? Is this a brave or a cowardly act? Defend your opinion with evidence from the text. (10 pts.)    When writing her short story, Oates was reportedly influenced by Bob Dylan’s song “It’s All Over Baby Blue.” The lyrics are copied below. Report two connections you recognize between the story and the lyrics of the song. (4 pts.) Lyrics from Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Baby Blue” (1965)   You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast Yonder stands your orphan with his gun Crying like a fire in the sun Look out the saints are comin’ through And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.   The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense Take what you have gathered from coincidence The empty handed painter from your streets Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets This sky, too, is folding under you And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.   All your seasick sailors, they are rowing home Your empty handed armies, are all going home Your lover who just walked out the door Has taken all his blankets from the floor The carpet, too, is moving under you And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.   Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you Forget the dead you’ve left, they will not follow you The vagabond who’s rapping at your door Is standing in the clothes that you once wore Strike another match, go start anew And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.

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