How End-Rhyme and Diction Serve Sympathy in "The Weary Blues"

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2016

Faculty Sponsor

Jeffrey Westover


Blues music and poetry cross paths in Langston Hughes’ “The Weary Blues” and provides a glimpse into a 1925 blues scene, where we see through the eyes of the audience-member narrator, the beautiful relationship between a blues musician and his music. Hughes portrays blues music as an outlet, even an act of hope, in a time of racial unrest, sadness, and weariness in the black community—and he uses this poem to illuminate the purpose of Blues music in this era. Poetic devices serve the poem well: end-rhyme is coupled with meaningful diction to create a call and response action, mimicking typical Blues features in song. In this way, the poem evokes emotion and calls readers to respond to what the poem is depicting. Additionally, the poem’s structure serves to give a visible scene that pulls the reader in to partake in the same pleasure the musician derives from the act of crooning and playing his piano. Through end-rhyme and diction, the end of the poem offers a subtle invitation to the reader to empathize with the blues musician and contemplate a time of dissatisfaction.

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