Losing a father figure and learning how to go on differently then what he has taught you, or what you have learned is in fact a tough thing to do. In Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin looks at whatever he can gather up about his father who past away. ". . . He was, I think, very handsome. I gather this from photographs and from my own memories of him, dressed in his Sunday best and on his way to preach a sermon somewhere, . . ."(Baldwin p.203). In comparison to Notes of a Native Son, Baldwin sets the same type of tone in Sonny's Blues. Here Baldwin sets the scene to where a father figure is lost, but is not missed greatly. Sonny's brother which is the narrator and who is older acts as the father figure in Sonny's life. ". . . Sonny. . . I know how you feel. But if you don't finish school now, you"re going to be sorry later that you didn't. (Baldwin p.163). That just shows you that the narrator wanted the best for Sonny, and not for Sonny to become a bum on the streets.
Even though both of the stories involve a death in the family, there is a big contrast on how they treat the death. In Sonny's Blues, the death of the father takes a huge toll on the entire immediate family, but in Note Of A Native Son the death of their father doesn't really affects them as much. ". . . I had declined to believe in that apocalypse which had been central to my father's vision; . . . I had not known my father very well. We had got on badly, partly because we shared, in our different, the vice of stubborn pride."(Baldwin p.202). As to in Sonny's Blues, the death of the father drives Sonny to drugs and the blues, and it generates thoughts in mama's head of pain and anguish. ". . . But I praise my Redeemer, . . . that He called your Daddy home before me." (Baldwin p.160). While these two entries show how deaths were dealt between two families, you can see how much of an affect it had on the stories.
Although I stated that the stories were similar in one way, but different in another; it is shown that lives are affected no matter what the state of the family is in.