“Comparing the Use of Sensory Details in “Harlem” and “The Weary Blues”
Langston Hughes is known for his vivid use of sensory details in his writing, which often serves as a way to transport the reader into the world he is describing. In two of his most famous works, “Harlem” and “The Weary Blues,” Hughes employs sensory details to create a striking picture of life in Harlem during the 1920s.
In “Harlem,” Hughes paints a bleak picture of the African American experience in the city. Through his use of imagery, the reader can envision a barren landscape, where dreams go to die: “A raisin in the sun / Or fester like a sore- / And then run?” (Hughes). The use of these metaphors creates a palpable sense of hopelessness and despair, which mirrors the reality of life for many African Americans at the time.
Similarly, in “The Weary Blues,” Hughes uses sensory details to conjure up an image of a smoky jazz club, complete with the sound of piano keys and the smell of cigarette smoke: “He did a lazy sway/ He did a lazy sway/ To the tune o’ those Weary Blues” (Hughes). Through this description, the reader can imagine being transported into the club, feeling the music and the vibrations of the room.
While both “Harlem” and “The Weary Blues” employ sensory details to create a mood, they do so in different ways. “Harlem” uses metaphorical language to convey a sense of hopelessness and frustration, while “The Weary Blues” relies on more literal descriptions of sensory details to create a sense of atmosphere. Nonetheless, both are effective in drawing the reader into the world that Hughes is describing.
In conclusion, Langston Hughes was a master of using sensory details to create vivid imagery in his writing. “Harlem” and “The Weary Blues” both demonstrate his ability to paint a picture of life in Harlem during the 1920s, through the use of metaphorical language in one and literal descriptions of sensory details in the other. Together, they serve as a testament to Hughes’ unique voice and his ability to transport his readers to another time and place.”