Poetry Explication and Analysis Essay

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Poetry Explication and Analysis Essay
Part I: Scansion and Analysis
The poem “Trumpet Player,” by Langston Hughes focus on how music can be used to
illustrate how suffering caused by hardship cannot be forgotten quickly: its memory is permeant
and does not fade away overnight. Many of the poems by this particular author, Langston
Hughes, are concerned with reactions of Harlem Renaissance movement which took place in the
1930s; with this particular poem aiming at the issues that were causing suffering to the Africans,
mostly, on the hands of the American. Apparently, the African-American suffered from the
effects of slavery even long after the illegalization of slavery in the American States. As a result,
music was embraced as a way of reducing the excruciating pain of their memories.
The poem, “Trumpet Player,” comprises of the first four stanzas made up of eight lines
each and the last two stanzas with six lines each. Fundamentally, the poem does not follow the
typical English structures and conventions were ignored in all the punctuations except for the
two em dashes used at the end of stanza two line seven and another instance in stanza three, line
eight. In addition, the poet uses massive capitalization, mostly in the first stanza and at odd
places but the case in other stanzas is significantly different. For example, in the third Stanza,
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where the author talks about the type of music and its rhythm, there is a total absence of
capitalization which makes that particular stanza look grammatically incorrect.
The first three stanzas have a conceding structure each containing a single topic sentence
presented in a free verse. To add on that, the third and the fourth stanza are common in the
structure and presentation of each having two parallel sentences. However, despite much
similarities amongst various grouping, stylistic aspects are highly distinct from one stanza to
another. For example, the length of the corresponding lines and their use differ across from one
stanza to another. The usage of the word “Negro” within the poem by the author indicates the
condition of the trumpet player: an African-American person facing racial and social profiling
seeking for equality. Finally, the organization of the poem on the page looks unpresentable due
to abstinence from using standard English conventions such as capitalization and using lines with
appropriate length to make a better presentation.
Part II: Explication
The poem “The Trumpet Player,” signifies an African-American (black man) playing a
trumpet straining as a result of physical and mental suffering. The poet indicates that the music
was sweet like honey; however, it was mixed with liquid fire signifying that despite the laxity
and seemingly happy life of the moment, the mind of the trumpet player was oozing with
agonizing saddening memory. In respect, Hughes uses the music as a source of consolation that
would help the “man” soothe the previous encounters that had caused him massive suffering.
“Dark moon of weariness/ beneath his eyes/where the smoldering memory/of a slave” (Stanza, 1)
has been used figuratively to signify that the subject, African- American man was suffering at the
horrifying memory of the difficult time as a slave. Putting emphasis on the fact that the man
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playing the trumpet has bags under the eyes indicates that that man dwelled on the past anguish,
which might have caused sleeplessness making him weary.
The poem also focuses and music and how it can be used to minimize the mental strain
emanating for past experiences of issues related to bad memory. The author touches briefly on
the alcoholism in “desire/that is longing for the sea/where the sea’s a bar-glass/sucker size”
(stanza 4). This means that the trumpet player was yearning for alcohol which he compared to
the sea; unfortunately, he drowns himself in the “sea of big drink” in an attempt to let go the pain
Furthermore, the author also identifies that the man could also reduce the pain through
considering music as a part of life. In (stanza, 6) “its hypodermic needle/ to his soul/but softly/as
the tune comes from his throat/trouble/mellows to a golden note.” The author purports that the
music is part and partial of the man: within his soul, skin and removes the pain from him and the
ancestors. This inclination towards how the music is turned into a soothing device makes the
poem and effective communicator with the core aim of depicting the challenges that are
emanating for the bad memory of the slavery. Stylistically, the author uses a few instances of
repetition that are used to enhance the delivery. For example, the word “Negro” has been used at
the beginning of stanzas one, two and five. In a nutshell, the basic premise of the Hughes’ work
is to portray a more precise image concerning the plight of immigration and slavery.
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Works Cited
Langston Hughes. “Trumpet Player”. https://allpoetry.com/Trumpet-Player. Accessed on
February 12, 2018.

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