Poem Analysis The imagery in Longs Hughes’ poem “The Weary Blues” explains the theme of dejection and the relief that music can bring. In the first line the words droning and drowsy appear, Immediately reflecting the tone of tiredness first stated In the poem’s title. These two words, droning and drowsy, describe the blues, the type of music the narrator is hearing. Hughes’ imagery is further reinforced by his description of the ambient light as a “pale dull pallor of an old gas light” (5).
An old gas light, giving Off faint glow from behind dirty and yellowing glass, helps illuminate the weariness of the blues player as he does a lazy sway to his weary blues. Everything described In the poem is melancholy. The “poor Plano moan[s] with melody’ (10). The stool Is rickety. And the tune Is a sad and rag one. The contrast between of black and white lends itself to the mood with phrases like “ebony hands on each ivory key” (9). The “Sweet Blues! Coming from a black man’s SOCIO! (Hughes, 14-15) must weigh heavily on the narrator as he listens to the lyrics and watches the pianist do his lazy sway. In the blues singer’s lyrics he sings of loneliness and how he has no one In the world. He tries to overcome those feelings with lyrics expressing his wishes to quit frowning and to “put his troubles on the shelf’ (22). A few thumps of his foot on the floor and he begins to sing again of his sorrow that he cannot seem to escape. He croons of his weariness, his unhappiness, and his wish that he had died.
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Because he cannot escape his dejection, the blues singer plays his song deep into the night. He plays his song until “The stars went out and so did the moon” (32). It took him quite some time for his music to help soothe him. It took the blues player many repetitions until his own “Weary Blues echoed through his head” (34). Even though he was tired already, he continued to play until his soul was content. And once his soul was complacent, once the blues had worked their sweet magic on his heart, “He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead” (35).
He plays “The Weary Blues” because he is fatigued physically and troubled mentally. He wants to find relief from his physical weariness but cannot do that before he finds respite for his mental anguish. Longs Hughes uses Imagery to appropriately describe the theme. Nearly every adjective In “The Weary Blues” conveys a tiredness that Is all encompassing but the style of blues music uses that to its’ advantage. Blues music expounds on sad themes to put a face on them that people can understand.
With understanding, people can come to terms with their negative feelings. For all of his sorrows, the blues singer still wishes to quit frowning and escape his hurt which he accomplishes at the end when he becomes “like a man that is dead” (35). Was becoming popular in the sass and there were many mixed feelings about it. On one hand it was an entertaining type of music that America was intrigued with, and n the other, it was created by a social class that was still not fully accepted nor would be for nearly another eighty years.
To hear this wonderful blues music, it was likely that you had to visit a bar or club in the black community, an area that many people misunderstood and were fearful of. These styles of music were birthed in the black community. Many racially motivated whites tried their hand at fear mongering with propaganda that blues and jazz music went hand in hand with drinking, adultery, and other types of lechery. Even the dancing to these types of music was seen as debauchery. From the black community’s perspective, they’ve been making music similar to this since slave times with their working songs.
Finally free, they picked up instruments previously banned and began a musical revival. Their story so new but brimming with emotion, relief, utter ecstasy, pain, and sorrow, they expressed themselves in a way not heard before by the public. As much as they enjoyed sharing their stories and talents with their communities, most were equally Jealous of sharing with other communities. If a blues musician came to fame in the twenties, it was only because he had played ball with white executives. Any black man playing blues or Jazz in a white part of town was commonly derided as an “uncle Tom”.