Langston Hughes: Poems

Always a Reason to Rise: The Message of "The Weary Blues" 11th Grade

In “The Weary Blues”, Langston Hughes uses negative language to create a generally discouraging atmosphere. The relentless dark imagery makes the reader overlook an underlying message, as the poem actually encourages its readers to push against any obstacles in their way. Rather than being beaten down by one's problems, one should rise up and continue to resist the slow slide to depression. Through such ideals, Hughes focuses on instilling hope in African Americans, his primary audience.

In the beginning of the poem, Hughes depicts a struggling musician with a weak handle on his problems. The poem begins with, “Droning a drowsy syncopated tune” (1), a simple line with a plethora of information woven in to it. As the first line of the poem, it establishes a melancholy tone, while retaining an oddly rhythmic aspect. The presence of syncopation changes the meaning of the beginning of the line. It adds a sense of hope, a sort of light at the end of the tunnel. The subject of the poem rocks “back and forth to a mellow croon” (2) he plays. Despite the drowsy, drab scene, music continues to pour from the piano. The man contently swaying to his tune, which overflows with negativity, shows the gilded qualities of the race. From the...

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