A short story is a brief yet succinct detail into someone’s life. It most often gives a history or background of the individual’s life, a decisive moment, which is further built up on and then leads to a culmination of events. The goal is to capture and maintain the reader’s interest throughout the story by utilizing a single thought provoking character, visual details and a climatic end. These features will keep the reader captivated to the very end of the story. While most short stories are plotted around at least one thought provoking character, the individual must be convincing, consistent throughout and almost life-like in order to maintain the reader’s interest. Once the reader locks on to the character in a short story, the interest is captured and maintained by the character’s disposition. From the onset of the short story, Sonny’s Blues, the author immediately introduces the single captivating character, Sonny, by letting the reader in on Sonny’s circumstances. Visual details pull the reader deeper and keep their attention locked throughout the story. It allows the reader to create his or her own view or feel exactly what the character is experiencing. “I was scared, scared for Sonny.
A great block of ice got settled in my belly and kept melting there slowly all day long. It was a special kind of ice. It kept melting, sending trickles of ice water all up and down my veins, but it never got less. Sometimes it hardened and seemed to expand until I felt my guts were going to come spilling out or that I was going to choke or scream” (James Baldwin 37). These words used by Sonny’s brother depict real fear and the use of details allows the reader to see and feel the depth of his fear. The climatic end is the highest point of interest and the defining moment of the story. The reader wonders what will happen next and what the resolution will be. Sonny decides to visit the nightclub; this concerns his brother who believes that this environment will lead Sonny down the wrong path. However, the opposite happens, “Here I was in Sonny’s world. Or, rather: his kingdom.
Here, it was not even a question that his veins bore royal blood” (James Baldwin 57). The brother realizes that this world, this environment and the music are what Sonny thrives on to maintain his sobriety. For a compelling short story, as Rosemary Sullivan said, “It’s the intensity of the experience in so brief a space.” The urge to find out why, when, how and what about Sonny, based on his circumstances, including his drug addiction and being locked away as a result, causes the reader to want to move further into the story. This experience is intensified by the disposition of a single thought provoking character, visual details and a climatic end, making the short story a successful read.