Skip James’ Hard time killing floor blue’


The song captures the singer’s inner deep thoughts about the great depression that everyone went through, as well as the period where Black Americans suffered in society. His lyrics are powerful which allows the audience to resonance with his pain and pain from others. The lyrics are simple and emotional especially in the third line when James sings about “You know that people, they are driftin’ from door to door. But you can’t find no heaven, I don’t care where they go.” Personally speaking, these two lines most appealing to me. The doors, in this case, represent the way to solve or overcome the worse situation. People are insisting on finding solutions and get to “heaven”. However, heaven does not resonance with people’s emotion, it closes the door and let people nowhere to go. James successfully used this metaphor to explain his and people’s desperate feeling at that time. 

The blue usually symbols emotion in many forms of literature. When combining the text, the blue in the lyrics is a motif that repetitively appears in the song. It does not always occur in the name of blue, but a feeling of lowdown longness and despair throughout the song. We can observe from the title, James actually provides a sense of faithful in the word ‘killing’, and it repeats in the “People if I ever can get up off of this old hard killin’ floor. Lord, I’ll never get down this low no more.” The floor can be interpreted as the lowdown and despair status people are having at that time. This does not only refers to the situation at that time but can also be applied to a wider range- it can always have meaning to people of any generation. The song did remind me of my own experiences- when we are feeling desperate and having no faith and confidence about certain issues. Although the song is in a relatively low mood, it resonants with the audience and encourages them.




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