Essay on Langston Hughes' The Weary Blues

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Langston Hughes' The Weary Blues

Jazz music is often associated with long, lazy melodies and ornate rhythmical patterns. The Blues, a type of jazz, also follows this similar style. Langston Hughes' poem, "The Weary Blues," is no exception. The sound qualities that make up Hughes' work are intricate, yet quite apparent. Hughes' use of consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, and rhyme in "The Weary Blues" gives the poem a deep feeling of sorrow while, at the same time, allows the reader to feel as if he or she is actually listening to the blues sung by the poem's character.

The Blues musical move was prominent during the 1920s and '30s, a time known as the Harlem Renaissance. Blues music characteristically told the story of
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Another place that consonance is apparent is in line 5, "?pale, dull pallor of an old gas light." The sticky 'l' sounds are difficult to produce off of the tongue quickly; therefore, these words slow the poem down. This is typical of the blues. The slow sounds of blues music are incorporated in the words of this poem. It seems as if the words with the 'l' sounds get extra emphasis, as well, because they are so difficult to pronounce. Added strength through word sounds helps boost the poem's glumness.

Line 10 is another excellent example of consonance in "The Weary Blues." The 'm' and 'p' sounds of "He made that poor piano moan with melody" give the poem a juxtaposition of warm sounds from the 'm' to aggressive tones with the sharp 'p.' This is a nice element as it is characteristic of blues music, as well. Usually there are some elements of comfort and disdain within the blues. The contrast of the 'm' and 'p' sounds highlights this very well.

There is a great amount of assonance in "The Weary Blues." The first example of assonance comes right away in the poem. Line 1 opens with the long 'o' sound in "Droning a drowsy syncopated tune" and continues with "Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon" in line 2. This long 'o' sound is representative of the forlorn blues aforementioned. The long 'o' is repeated throughout the poem, for example in line 10 with

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