Reading The Blues: The Individual and Community In Selected Poems of LangstonHughes, Gloria Naylor's Novel The Women of Brewster Place, and Bebe Moore Campbell's Novel Your Blues Ain't Like Mine




Langston Hughes, Gloria Naylor, and Bebe Moore Campbell use the blues in theirpoetry and fiction to highlight the relationship between the individual and the community; however, African culture and American slavery influenced the development of the personal and group dynamics of the blues long before a blues literary tradition emerged. This chapter on slave songs, the precursors to today's blues, focuses on the emergence of the blues with an emphasis on the individual and community. The relationship between a single slave and the slave community influences the blues musical and literary traditions, reflecting both the individual and community. An understanding of the individual, the community, and the interaction between the two in slave songs is a prerequisite for a valid analysis of Langston Hughes's Selected Poetry of Langston Hughes, Gloria Naylor's The Women of Brewster Place, and Bebe Moore Campbell's Your Blues Ain't Like Mine.



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