The Blues I'm Playing Essay

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Brent has a Ph.D. in American Culture, specializing in cinema studies, from the University of Michigan. She is a freelance writer and editor and teaches courses in American cinema. In the following essay, she discusses the conflicting perspectives on "art" represented by the two main characters in the story.

Langston Hughes's short story "The Blues I'm Playing" portrays the relationship between a young, working class African American pianist, Oceola Jones, and her elderly, wealthy, white patron, Mrs. Dora Ellsworth. Hughes juxtaposes Oceola's and Mrs. Ellsworth's perspectives on their relationship through contrasting the meaning and significance of music to each woman. For Mrs. Ellsworth, music or "art" is an abstraction which, if "pure," rises above the banalities of everyday life. For Oceola, on the other hand, music is a living, breathing practice which is fully integrated with her personal, everyday experiences. These two different perspectives on music...

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This section contains 199 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Blues I'm Playing Study Guide
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