Langston Hughes Writing Styles in The Blues I'm Playing

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Narrator

In many ways, the narrative voice of "The Blues I'm Playing" is not likely to strike the contemporary reader as radical. This third-person voice uses simple and clear prose, providing very direct exposition - explanation about the characters' backgrounds and feelings. Nonetheless, when Hughes was writing in the 1920s and 1930s, both his short fiction and his poetry challenged many readers' expectations. First, the language was too direct, in explicit opposition to the prevailing standards of the era. These had been greatly influenced by turn-of-the-century writers like Henry James, who held to the practice of "show, don't tell." Hughes, however, often tells. Second, this voice borrows from black dialect, more at some times than at others. This use of colloquialism is not exaggerated to the point of caricature; Hughes presents the phonic beauty of oral language, rather than making a joke of it. Third, as the narrative voice...

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This section contains 518 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Blues I'm Playing Study Guide
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The Blues I'm Playing from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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