Characters

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 206

There is only one real character in this poem: the titular trumpet player, a black man dogged by "weariness" who has evidently experienced considerable suffering during his life. That this is largely as a result of his race is indicated by the repeated references to him as "the Negro," as well as to the poet's commentary about how the world he lives in has "tamed" most expressions of his true self, even his natural hair. Only in music can the trumpet player find a "hypodermic needle" for his battered soul.

Illustration of PDF document

Download Trumpet Player Study Guide

Subscribe Now

The trumpet player's plight is not his alone. Hughes refers to the racial memory of slave ships and transportation as a weight which adds to the trumpet player's weariness. What he longs for is what powers his music—the "desire" for the wide sea and the moon, places where he could be himself and would not be forced to exist in the aftermath of slavery. Obviously this can never be, but the trumpet player still draws upon this "longing" to help him create music which is like "honey" and which offers him the only consolation he can find.

The trumpet player is notably not named; his plight is representative of that faced by many black Americans.

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-hour free trial
Previous

Analysis

Next

Quotes