How does the message of the blues singer's first verse contrast with the second verse in "The Weary Blues"?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Tone is the author’s attitude toward the subject.  In the first verse, the speaker’s attitude is weary but persistent.  In the second verse, the speaker becomes more dreary and the poem ends on a reflective  note.

In the first verse, the poem is moody but persistent because the musician is playing late into the night.  The interjections of “O Blues!” and “Sweet Blues!” are celebratory, but not in an overly optimistic way, because the musician “ played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool” (line 13).  The “lazy sway” in lines 6 and 7 mimics the meandering of the poem itself.  The main difference between the two stanzas is the lines in the second stanza.

"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.” (lines 25-30)

The tone actually shifts in the end of the first verse.  In the first stanza, there is singing too, and it is also demonstrating depression.  By the end of the first verse or stanza, the signing reveals how the musician really feels.  Before he sings, we have only the interpretation of his sweet music, weary though it is.  He says he has “got nobody in all this world” and we begin to see him differently.


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