Transformative Possibilities In The Weary Blues By Langston Hughes

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A cartoon character once took a book, placed it over his head, and claimed that it was also a hat. Whether you find his joke clever or puerile is not material. Instead, notice the character’s lack of “functional fixedness” or the inability to use an object outside of its intended use. With this concept in mind, the book displays transformative capabilities. Langston Hughes’ poetry also displays transformative capabilities. Moreover, as opposed to the cartoon, the poetry of Hughes underscores these transformative capabilities in more meaningful and sophisticated ways. Thus, Hughes’, The Weary Blues, contains poems that demonstrate how ordinary life and objects are more dynamic than they appear and display transformative capabilities, through…show more content…
Yet, our friend, the neophyte, has a simpler understanding of the poem; people of various skin tones dance the night away because “Tomorrow…. is darkness.” This meagre interpretation of the poem, again, fails to engage with the literary form Hughes experiments with. Please realize that the neophyte is not referenced as a strawman or an excuse to be sardonic or patronizing. The neophyte is used to caution and admonish readers of poetry that when form is neglected an entire deeper level of the poem is ignored. And this deeper meaning adds a profoundness and complexity to the poem that brings the reader closer to Hughes’ perspective. How can one truly appreciate poetry if they are only privy to half of its awe? With that said, upon paying attention to form, one will notice how each of the first three stanzas highlight specific body parts and characteristics. The first stanza describes the “sleek black boys.” The second stanza describes the “White girls’ eyes” and the “Black boys’ lips.” The third stanza describes the “Dark brown girls” and the “blond men’s arms.” Hughes organizes his poem with such scrutiny of the particular parts of the body to underscore the loss of rationale in the night club. There is no reason. People simply respond to their natural impulses. The mind is not able to establish a comprehensive perception of a person, and so people are understood through their feature or emotions. Furthermore, jazz is to blame for this deterioration of high-level cognition. Notice how Hughes presents the word “play” as “Play, pLAY, PLAY!” The various presentations of the word “play” emphasize the letters within the word—both alone and in combination. For example: “P l a y,” “p Lay,” and “PLAY.” This is a brilliant manipulation of form because it mimics the individuals within the night club, who
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