Sound Patterns Of Hughes The Weary Blues example essay topic

1,522 words
Hughes' '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 1920's and '30's, a time known as the Harlem Renaissance. Blues music characteristically told the story of someone's anguish, the key factors, and the resolution of the situation. This is precisely what Hughes' poem, 'The Weary Blues,' describes.

Hughes uses the rhythmic structure of blues music and the improvisational rhythms of jazz in his innovative development of 'The Weary Blues. ' The poem opens by first setting the scene. 'Down on Lenox Avenue' the speaker heard a 'mellow croon' (lines 2 and 4). The tune was played on a piano and sung by a man with the emotions coming from the 'black man's soul' (15).

The piano man expresses his feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction with his life in lines 19-22 and 25-30:' Ain't got nobody in all this world, Ain't got nobody but ma self. I's gwine to quite ma frownin' And put my troubles on the shelf. ' 'I got the Weary Blues And I can't be satisfied. Got the Weary Blues And can't be satisfied- I ain't happy no mo' And I wish that I had died.

' The piano man, in a slightly backward order, tells how he wished that he had died because he feels so alone. But, instead of an ultimate end, the piano man decides to 'put his troubles on the shelf,' or rather, push them aside and continue living without the distraction of those pains. The tone of 'The Weary Blues' is quite dark and melancholy. This matches the sorrowful theme of the poem.

Sound patterns play a key role in this poem. They enhance the already somber mood by way of consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, and rhyme patterns. Consonance is found within the first line of the poem. 'Droning a drowsy... ' brings a hard 'd's ound to Line 1.

This hard 'd's ound can be thought to set the beat to which the rest of the poem is read. If this poem were actually put to a blues' tune, the hard 'd' beat would serve as the base rhythm. Another place that consonance is apparent is in line 5, '... pale, dull pallor of an old gas light. ' The sticky 'l's ounds 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's ounds 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's ounds 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's ounds 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's ound in 'Droning a drowsy syncopated tune' and continues with 'Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon' in line 2. This long 'o's ound is representative of the forlorn blues aforementioned. The long 'o' is repeated throughout the poem, for example in line 10 with '... poor piano moan with melody' and line 12, 'Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool. ' I think that the sound is one of the best sounds Hughes could have chosen to model the feeling presented in the poem.

There is no other sound that brings about the same emotions and connotations to loneliness and weariness but the long 'o. ' The 'u' or 'oo's ound is also unmistakable in this poem. The words 'tune' and 'blues' are repeated throughout the poem and estimated ten times. These two words in themselves are drawn out and lazy sounding.

The length of the words helps the poem to sway to the rhythm created all of the different sound patterns. The 'u' and 'oo's ounds in 'stool' and 'fool' are also found as the rhyme at the end of lines 12 and 13. They are again used in lines 31 and 32 with 'crooned,' 'tune,' and 'moon. ' These sounds almost seem to add a spooky or pessimistic feeling to the poem because of how the sounds drag out the length of the words. 'The Weary Blues' has a sort of nasally sound to it as well. I think this is because of the assonance of the long 'a's ound.

This sound pattern can be found, for example, in lines 5 and 6, 'He did a lazy sway... / He did a lazy sway... ' and again in line 13, 'He played that sad raggy tune... ' The long 'a's ound here produces a sound that is drawn out which adds again to the theme of loneliness and solitude in the poem. Onomatopoeia is another sound feature in 'The Weary Blues. ' Onomatopoeia, or 'the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named' as defined by the Oxford Dictionary's American Edition, is found a several places throughout the poem.

Examples of this onomatopoeia are the words 'croon,' 'moan,' 'rickety,' 'thump,' and 'echoed. ' 'Thump, thump, thump' is found in line 23 and it is also a place of internal repetition. This onomatopoeia and internal repetition really push the beat of the poem. Each of these words are stressed, adding strength and power to this area of the poem. The onomatopoeia of the other words in this poem give 'The Weary Blues' an even greater feeling of a blues-like melody. The musical sounds produced the onomatopoeic words bring the sense of the actual blues being playing by the old piano man.

The rhyme scheme of this poem is also quite important to the overall feeling of the blues. There is no distinct rhyme pattern to 'The Weary Blues' although rhyme is abundant in the poem. Generally speaking, every two lines rhyme or every other line rhymes. This creates a lyrical feeling, something that is common of music and very characteristic of blues tunes. Much of the rhyme in 'The Weary Blues' comes at the end of the lines, but there are a few instances of internal rhyme and off-rhyme.

Internal rhyme can be found in lines 31 and 32. As mentioned before, 'crooned,' 'tune,' and 'moon' bring that haunting feeling to the sad poem. Off-rhyme is placed in the section of lines 11-15. O Blues!

Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool Sweet Blues! Coming from a black man's soul. O Blues! The end of each of the above lines has the long 'u' or 'oo's ound but doesn't exactly rhyme with the preceding line or lines.

This off-rhyme gives this blues poem more dimension. With precise rhyme, the poem would seem too forced but with this off-rhyme, the true flow of the blues is apparent and works very well. Additionally, the near rhyme of the long 'u' or 'oo's ound reinforces, once again, the sorrowful and melancholy theme of the poem. With the consistent use of consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, and rhyme patterns of 'The Weary Blues,' Langston Hughes produces a poem with a great deal of emotion. The feelings of sadness and loneliness resonate throughout the poem.

The long, lazy melodies and ornate rhythmical patterns of jazz music and the blues are really brought to life in 'The Weary Blues' via Hughes' intricate workings of sound patterns that are cleverly implemented in every nook of the poem. Because of these descriptive sound words, I can almost picture myself walking down Lenox Avenue and hearing the old piano man and his 'Weary Blues. '.