First, he chooses descriptive words and phrases that provide a melancholy and tedious tone to represent his somber and often pessimistic view of the America he has experienced. In the first 12 lines of the poem, Hughes uses, "droning," "pale dull pallor of an old gas light," "poor piano moan," "rickety," and "sad raggy tune" to imply that he is almost too tired to continue the fight. He is worn out, feels old and without luster. Even though the writer was a young man when he published this poem, he is worn out because he has had so much of a struggle already in life (prejudice, the divorce of his parents, working odd jobs, etc.).
Additionally, when Hughes writes,
"Ain't got nobody in all this world,/ Ain't got nobody but ma self"
he illustrates the loneliness he had felt in his battle to be successful, to be loved, and to be accepted. He is not only discussing the plight of the African-American during the 20s, but he is also showing what it feels like to be alone in the world with no one else to rely on.