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The Weary Blues
Transcript of The Weary Blues
Video of Hughes reading his poem: "The Weary Blues"
The rhythm of "The Weary Blues" is much like a song. The poem is meant to be read aloud to the beat of music. Preferably jazz or blues music, but a nice beat would also do the trick. A more constant rhythm is used during the end of the poem, when the lyrics of the man's song is spoken. The rest of the poem is spoken in a more natural rhythm of common speech.
All about Langston Hughes:
Literary period/ Special Features
Presented By: Elizabeth White
The poem "The Weary Blues" begins with the speaker hearing a Negro play during the night. Using the context from the poem, it is set in Harlem, New York. A historic African American neighborhood. " Down on Lenox Avenue the other night" (4). The musician plays the piano and it is obvious that he plays with his heart and soul. As the poem goes on, the speaker in the poem starts to get into the sad music. Halfway through the poem, (Line 19) the musician begins to sing. He sings about his misery and how he will put his worries to the side.
As the song goes on, the musician sings about how his blues will never be cured and how he wants to die. At the close of the poem, the musician plays his song late into the night; he goes to bed and sleeps as though he was dead.
Link to the poem:
Langston Hughes, or James Mercer Langston Hughes, was born Feburary 1st 1902. Hughes was an American poet, novelist, columnist, playwright and social activist. He was one of the earliest innovators in " jazz poetry ". He is probably most known for his leadership in the Harlem Renaissance. His work in literature clearly shows his pride in his African American culture. Hughes wrote many pieces reflecting the lives of African Americans, such as this poem " The Weary Blues". Langston Hughes died May 22, 1967.
The main theme of " The Weary Blues" is the when the general public or common people have times of depression or despair. The theme revolves around how they use music to relieve their pain and/or anxiety. It is common for people to use poetry or music to get through bad times.
The tone of the poem " The Weary Blues" is exactly how the name sounds. Through out the whole poem the speaker and the musician express depression or sadness by getting deep into the music and lyrics of the blues. The lyrics of the blues song the man plays in the night explains how many African Americans felt at this time. ( Lines 19-22 ) the musician sings: " Ain't got nobody in all this world / Ain't got nobody but ma self. / I's gwine to quit ma frownin' / And put ma troubles on the shelf."
The structure of "The Weary Blues" is very random.There are 7 stanzas with 5 lines each. Poetry with no regular rhyme or rhythm and meter is called free verse. Langston was one of the first poets to use free verse. In lines 8-13 ( To ... fool) is a great example of this free verse style.
The literary period of this poem was the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was created with the help of Langston Hughes. In his poetry, many times you see African American references. Much like you see in this poem, "The Weary Blues".
This poem is extremely symbolic because it accurate representation of how many African Americans helped themselves get out of despair.
Imagery is expressed all throughout the poem-
All images from Flickr
A drowsy syncopted tune" Line one
"I heard a Negro play" Line three
"he made the poor piano moan with melody" Line ten
"In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone" Line seventeen
"thump, thump thump went his foot on the floor" Line twenty-three
"swaying to and fro on his rickety stool" Line twelve
"stars went out, and so did the moon" Line thirty-two
"with his ebony hands on each ivory key" Line nine
"You Found Me" The Fray