The Weary Blues
by Langston Hughes
Lines 19-28 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
"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.
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.
"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.