Langston Hughes’ Love in “Fantasy in Purple”
Music and poetry are interrelated since many poets have dedicated their poems to various musical genres. This article by Beugre Zouankouan Stephane explores how Langston Hughes expressed his love for Blues and Jazz in his poem “Fantansy in Purple.” The author observes an as close link between the two genres that have favored Langston Hughes’ poems. According to Beugre Zouankouan Stephane, the poem demonstrates the importance and functions of blues and jazz in the life of an African American. The article utilizes the theories of symbolism, stylistics, psychoanalytic, and African American criticism to identify Langston Hughes’ central theme and message of the poem. Therefore, “Fantasy in Purple” is an explicit example of how poets relate their lifestyles with entertainment.
Beugre Zouankouan Stephane opines that the poem presents Langston Hughes’ love for music. According to the article, Langston Hughes’ love for music is historical and started from his personal experiences (Beugre Zouankouan). The author states that when Langston Hughes wrote about jazz, he incorporated syncopated rhythms and jive language. Consequently, “Fantasy in Purple” reads like the lyrics of a blues and jazz singer. It is the author’s opinion that jazz poems are inspired by blues, embracing all African-American music.
According to the article, the poem traduces the fusion of jazz and blues (Beugre Zouankouan). Langston Hughes enumerates some musical instruments and elements in the poem. Specifically, he mentions the notion of “songs” and “beats” to honor jazz and blues music. Additionally, the poem symbolically uses words such as “violins”, “drums”, and “trumpet”, among other musical instruments that are fundamental in playing jazz and blues. Furthermore, imagery is evident in the poem, presenting the fusion of the two music genres. According to the author, the poem’s title, “Fantasy in Purple”, is an aesthetic creation, combining symbol and image. The title translates the idea of jazz and blues in terms of color, musical fusion, and content. The use of the color “purple” sheds light on jazz and blues’ meaning, sensation, and mood.
Langston Hughes honors African American musicians by incorporating various poetic codes. The author argues that the use of “trumpet” celebrates musicians such as Louis Armstrong, the pianist Fats Waller, and the trumpeter Miles Davis, among other musicians famous known for playing the instruments. Jazz and blues musicians entertained African Americans and encouraged them through their tribulations. Therefore, the author maintains that the poem exhibits the importance of jazz and blues for moral strength.
Beugre Zouankouan serves a crucial role in my research on Langston Hughes. The article has enabled me to understand the role of the poet in African America literature. Furthermore, the article has provided an in-depth analysis of how Langston Hughes pioneered the fusion of jazz and blues. However, the author failed to intensively discuss the motivation behind Langston Hughes’ love for jazz and blues music. While “Fantasy in Purple” exhibits Langston Hughes’ love for jazz and blues, the poem fails to account for the reasons why the poet chose the two out of the many African-American music genres.
Stephane, Z.B. (2019). “Fantasy in Purple”: Langston Hughes’ love and dedicatee to Blues and Jazz Music. International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature (IJSELL), 7(7), pp. 10–23.