The Blues I'm Playing Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 52 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Blues I'm Playing.
This section contains 1,106 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Blues I'm Playing Study Guide

Race and Racism

"The Blues I'm Playing," like all of the stories in The Ways of White Folks, reveals to the reader, through form and content, one of the many ways in which racism can operate. While some stories portray the most obvious acts of racism, "The Blues I'm Playing" makes explicit a subtle, racist paternalism. Mrs. Ellsworth embodies the way that paternalism can hide racism, both from herself and others, because it is apparently so well-intentioned: Mrs. Ellsworth wants to help Oceola, so how could she be racist? Hughes's narrative illustrates how.

Mrs. Ellsworth's racism begins, in a sense, with her ignorance: she believes that she has never known a black person before. This belief betrays her narrowness of vision, since we can assume that she has certainly interacted with many black people, mostly as servants of some sort or another; at the very least, we know that...

(read more)

This section contains 1,106 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Blues I'm Playing Study Guide
Copyrights
Gale
The Blues I'm Playing from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook