Literary Analysis Of Langston Hughes's The Weary Blues

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Biography/Context: Langston Hughes (1902-1967) is widely considered as one of the most successful African-American poets of all time. He was also a columnist, playwright, novelist, and social activist for African-American rights. Consequently, Hughes wrote all sorts of literature about 20th century African-Americans living in Harlem--a major black residential within the Manhattan borough of New York City--and soon became an extremely influential figure in the Harlem Renaissance, which was the rebirth movement of African-American culture in the arts during the 1920s. Hughes also had great admiration for music, and was inspired by a variety of genres/musicians such as boogie, Bach, jazz, and blues. His special love for blues music caused…show more content…
He is burdened by sadness and pain, thus leading to the word “weary” in the title. Many also assume that Hughes may have derived the title of the poem from “Weary Blues”, a song released in 1915 by African-American songwriter, pianist, and ragtime composer Artie Matthews (Shmoop). “The Weary Blues” is one of Hughes’ most recognized poems to date, and has drawn rapturous praise from innumerable critics and readers throughout the world. My thesis is that “The Weary Blues” is a noteworthy poem due to the establishment of a relaxed, yet depressing mood through the accurate portrayal of a certain blues…show more content…
The poem is written in a blues poem structure, which means that it is derived from musical tradition of blues with certain elements coming from African-American dialect. A blues poem such as this is usually connected to themes of struggle and loneliness, which can be related to the word “weary” in the title. Similar to a blues song, blues poems also often feature a repetition of phrases in order to emphasize these themes (“Poetic”). “He did a lazy sway / He did a lazy sway” (6-7), “Ain’t got nobody in all this world / Ain’t got nobody but ma self” (19-20), and “I got the Weary Blues And I can’t be satisfied. Got the weary blues And can’t be satisfied” (25-28) are all great examples of repetitive lines being used in this poem in order to to emphasize a relaxed, yet depressing mood. It is also a free verse poem with an inconsistent rhyme scheme and meter, making the poem sound a lot like natural speech. However, Hughes adds hints of rhyme here and there throughout Chung 4 the entire poem as not to entirely exclude musical elements, for music is a vital concept that adds to the understanding of a blues poem such as this. Lastly, the poet masterfully utilizes poetic devices as a means of maximizing the vividness of the mood that is being conveyed. Hughes takes advantage of figurative language by using it to assist

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