Free Term Paper on the Poetry of Langston Hughes

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“The Weary Blues” and “Lenox Avenue: Midnight” by Langston Hughes are two poems written as scenes of urban life. Although these poems were written more than seventy years ago, it is surprising to see some general similarities they share with modern day city life. Dilluted down with word play and irrelevant lines such as “And the gods are laughing at us.”, the underlying theme is evidently urban life. “The Weary Blues” and “Lenox Avenue: Midnight” approach the general topic of urban life from two different aspects also.

“The Weary Blues” speaks of a person hearing a Negro playing the blues on a piano “Down on Lenox Avenue the other night,”. The poem is centered around this event, explaining “He did a lazy sway…He did a lazy sway…” It seems that Hughes was addressing the common link of Negro’s, urban life, and the blues music seventy years ago; quite a different approach than his other work.

“Lenox Avenue: Midnight”, my personal favorite of the two, is more of an outlook on urban life back then, stating that “The Rhythm of life/ Is a jazzy rhythm,”. There is an uneasy connection between urban life itself and the blues music that was so common during that time in that urban life itself is nothing but the blues and that “the gods are laughing at us.”

“Lenox Avenue: Midnight” is a more meaningful poem, reaching out to anyone that could relate. In a way it relates to modern day hip-hop in the sense of reaching out to the common people of that culture and time. “The Weary Blues” on the other hand is more of an observation thing going on in the poem, observing the Negro man playing the blues on his piano. The poems indirectly relate to modern day city life. Instead of the blues, hip-hop has taken its place. For instance, “The Weary Blues” speaks of a Negro man playing the blues over a piano. Nowadays in city life you’d instead find an inner city youth of any race freestyling or rapping to a more hip-hop groove. Considering history only repeats itself, and that every culture progresses off the prior one, these two poems show how city life is city life, experiencing its own modern day blues through progression of the last.


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