Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Jazz Mood: Sounds of Autumn (The Short Story Analysis "Early Autumn" by Langston Hughes)

Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He is known as one of the earliest innovators of the art form called jazz poetry. He also wrote short stories such as "Early Autumn".

This is the summary of the story "Early autumn":
Two former lovers Mary and Bill meet randomly at the bus stop after a long period of time after she left him and "married a man she thought she loved." They exchanged polite questions "how are you" and replied that each of them was fine. They have families, children, job. They said that each of them would welcome another at home with family. But when the bus came, Mary boarded it and drove away, then remembering that she didn't leave an address or phone number. She lost the opportunity to tell him about her feelings, about the name Bill which she gave her son, about the passing time ...

The first Bill's impression was how old she became. There is some connection between the autumn and the age. Autumn is a time of loss, Mary lost her love, both of them went through the time which never comes back. Leaves fall inevitably from the trees, "A great many people went past them through the park. People they didn't know."

The feeling of passing time is presented in dialog, in reminiscence, even in the description of light around:
"Suddenly the lights came on up the whole length of Fifth Avenue, chains of misty brilliance in the blue air." "The lights on the avenue blurred, twinkled, blurred."

The light represents a distancing from the present time, the light came up and the new reality came up. There is no way to escape the passage of time, the old reality got blurred as we can see in this picture.

This picture was painted by my wife. I suppose that the spectrum of colors shows the atmosphere of autumn's mood.

This video&music composition from Langston is appropriate as jazz interpretation of the feeling of autumn:

The lyrics are here:

We discussed this story with the teacher Varvara during the class in online English school albert-learning.com

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