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The Weary Blues
Transcript of The Weary Blues
The title is called the Weary Blues because the man who's playing the blues is playing it so much it's making him depressed and weary, a title believed to have been originated by Artie Mathews in a song he wrote in 1915.
Theme: The piano, the man singing the blues, the narrarator, and the gas light.
The piano played a sad, slow tune of the blues.
The man sang a sad song accompanied by his sad piano.
The narrarator is a bystander listening to the music and observing it.
The gas light casts a dull quiet ambiance for the piano player to play.
The theme of this poem is that suffering can be self inflicted if you put yourself in a mood to suffer. In this case, the man wore himself out by playing the blues so often and so long.
Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway ....
He did a lazy sway ....
To the tune o' those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
Title: The Weary Blues
Author: Langston Hughes
-Hughes was African American, White American, and Native American
-He was also a leader in the Harlem Renaissance
Time Period: early 1900's (1925)
-This time period was known as the Roaring Twenties, in which most everyone in the cities prospered, with the exception of farmers and ethnic groups pursued by the Ku Klux Klan.
1-3 Rocking in a chair, I heard a black man playing music.
4-8 On Lenox Avenue in the dim light he swayed to the music.
9-16 Brown skin on white keys, he swayed to the sad song he played, a black man
17-22 He sang sadly of his lonliness and that he would put his troubles aside.
23-24 He tapped his foot and sang again--
25-30 I have the blues and can't be satisfied. I wish I'd died.
31-35 The night grew dark and the man went to bed and slept soundly as a man who were dead.
Point of View: Present.
The speaker is a man sitting on his porch in the night. He speaks of a man who is playing piano and singing along about his sadness.
Rhyming Patterns: Couplets
Structure: Free Verse; sort of has a rhyme scheme. Mostly couplets.
Wording: Line 1- Alliteration
Line 6-7 Lazy sway (use of a slows reading giving it a "lazy sway)
Line 23 "Thump thump thump" Onomotapia.
Lines 13 & 35- Simile
Lines 10 & 18- Personification
The Weary Blues
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Coming from a black man's soul.
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan--
"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."
Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more--
"I got the Weary Blues
And I can't be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can't be satisfied--
I ain't happy no mo'
And I wish that I had died."
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.
Lines 11, 14-16, 21-22, and 29-30 contain key shifts in the poem where the piano man suddenly shifts in his mood and cries out in misery or decides to dispell the problem and put his troubles aside.
In lines 10, 13, 17, 32, and 35 the narrarator uses words and phrases and show his pity for the old piano player and he halfheartedly mocks him saying "He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.." This shows the narrarator can empathize with the piano man, maybe because he recognized the feelings the piano man was singing about.