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The Weary Blues

The Weary Blues


by Langston Hughes

Lines 19-28 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 19-22

"Ain't got nobody in all this world,
Ain't got nobody but ma self.
I's gwine to quit ma frownin'
And put ma troubles on the shelf."

  • This is the musician is singing a verse of "The Weary Blues." It's a pretty typical blues song: the singer is lonely and there's no one to help him out.
  • But! He is going to stop feeling sorry for himself and move on.
  • The grammar and spelling are supposed to mimic the way a real bluesman would sing. This mimicry is called "dialect."
  • The standard English version of line 21 is "I am going to stop frowning," but who talks like that?
  • It's all about being genuine and showing the world that even "flaws" are beautiful.

Lines 23-24

Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more–

  • The "[t]hump, thump, thump" is the piano player keeping the musical beat by stomping his foot on the ground.
  • His whole body is getting into the music.
  • Line 24 sums up one style of blues music, where the singer/musician plays some chords or notes on an instrument, stops playing, and sings a line of the song.

Lines 25-28

"I got the Weary Blues
And I can't be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can't be satisfied–

  • We're back to the musician singing, but now he's doing the chorus. The chorus can sum everything up, then makes a big statement at the end.
  • Sure, Lines 27-28 are a repetition of 25-26, but it's not exact.
  • Dropping the Is in the repeated lines lets the singer draw out some syllables. It adds some punch and lets the musician show his chops.

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