Why does the speaker in Langston Hughes' "The Weary Blues" respond intensely to the "sad, raggy tune"?

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Blues music has its roots in African American music of the South and was greatly influenced by slave work songs and spirituals. Beginning around the end of slavery, Blues lyrics often tell of struggles and heartbreak. In Langston Hughes’ poem, “The Weary Blues,” the narrator’s response to the Blue’s tune represents the passion in Blues music itself. He talks about the music “coming from a black man’s soul,” representing the struggles of the African American people. Blues is a music that is powerful, yet comes from a “sad, raggy tune” and a “poor, old piano.” Langston Hughes makes a statement about the African American people and how they may come from sparse beginnings but are also filled with promise and power. Blues music is the music of the people and their struggle.

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Langston Hughes' poem “The Weary Blues” was written during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, in the 1920's. The Harlem Renaissance was an outburst of creative activity among African-Americans in the Harlem area that produced many notable literary and musical works.

Hughes' poem focuses on a black blues singer/piano player who seems to have lost hope. The speaker is reacting to the heartfelt nature of the singer's playing and singing—it's more than just entertainment to the speaker, it is the revelation of singer's deepest emotions.

One way that Hughes' creates this mood is by personifying the piano that the man is playing:

He made that poor piano moan with melody.

The man is playing so powerfully that he even makes the piano sad.

The speaker also feels that the singer is doing more than just playing notes:

Coming from a black man's soul.

To play or sign from one's soul is to express the truest thoughts and emotions possible. The speaker sees that the singer/piano player is in so much pain that his only release, his only comfort, is to express what he is feeling as truthfully as he can.  

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