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The Negro Speaks Of Rivers Analysis



Author: poem of Langston Hughes Type: poem Views: 238

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I've known rivers:

I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the

     flow of human blood in human veins.



My soul has grown deep like the rivers.



I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln

     went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy

     bosom turn all golden in the sunset.



I've known rivers:

Ancient, dusky rivers.



My soul has grown deep like the rivers.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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if u can't answer the question then don't waste our time by your disgusting sites...."fool"

| Posted on 2014-04-13 | by a guest


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THESE DO NOT ANSWER MY QUESTIONS! GET A LIFE YOU FREAKING MORONS!!!! AND STOP ANSWERING LIKE THE LITTLE ASSWIPES YOU ARE!

| Posted on 2013-04-08 | by a guest


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Langston hughes wrote this poem to reprsent how slaves went through in order for their freedom to be given

| Posted on 2012-03-08 | by a guest


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It has a simple theme that gone are the days when blacks were unable to tell the whites that the white people\'s IQ is approximately half of that of black people.

| Posted on 2011-04-28 | by a guest


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I do not want to do my homework because it is very boring.

| Posted on 2011-04-20 | by a guest


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hughes as an afro-american refers to the new x african and american imagery through rivers and cities,in tracing his roots which has led to the\"growth\" of his soul.Poet the\"I\" is neither african nor american but makes an affirmation of his afro-american identity which has lead to his evolution from the\"ancient\" times.connection with history when he made \"pyramids\" and recounts “the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln / went down to New Orleans.” also,\"bathed in the Euphrates\" when young.
both nile and mississippi have contributed to make poet what he is today. ancestry through ancient times and identity of the present...thus sharing history of two great cultures.Just as the rivers still flow, since the dawn of time, so too has the Black American soul outlasted everything. There was a tone of promise in the words \"...I\'ve seen it\'s muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.\" (l 9-10) as the Mississippi changed with the coming of freedom. Hope shines from the lines of the piece.

| Posted on 2011-03-16 | by a guest


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This poem suggests one simple theme; whites are and always will be superior to the blacks. It is acceptable for them to be seen as aliens/outcasts to society and should be forever shunned

| Posted on 2010-12-13 | by a guest


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This poem has a simple meaning. Langston Huges tries to depict a sense of emotion and show the trouble african americans had to deal with during the 19th century. African Americans were second class citizens, and at the time of this poem, still were. My using symbolism, Hughes shows the reader that he believes blacks dont have rights (at the time of the poems writing) and he also believes that blacks will never have the same rights as legitimate, all white citizens. I believe Hughes has implemented a feeling of defeat in this poem, displaying his belief that \"negros\" will perhaps never be treated fairly. They may continue to be turned down at fancy restaurants, whipped publicly and made fun of by white students and teachers, and compared to today (2010) we can clearly see that these ideals continue to be accurate.

| Posted on 2010-12-13 | by a guest


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PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI
I like tomatoes with cream on top.
PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI

| Posted on 2010-12-13 | by a guest


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Langston Hughes uses the theme of \"roots\" to show a dual meaning displaying how the African-American community has deep roots in history.
I enjoyed this poem even though it is a bit cryptic.

| Posted on 2010-11-28 | by a guest


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You children are idiots!!! If you can\'t take the time to actually read and understand the writing, then DON\'T waste our time outting your immature comments on here!!! Grow up!!!

| Posted on 2010-11-27 | by a guest


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langston huqhes is a brave man and this poem shows that he dosent care who or what he is and where is from. He has shown everyone the rights of black people and have given them all pride!

| Posted on 2010-08-10 | by a guest


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this is a stupid ass website. take this shit down and put up games. do some good for the world!

| Posted on 2010-05-27 | by a guest


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langston hughes wrote this poem on his way to mexico to see his father.
seeing the missisipi, his mind dated back to the times of slavery and he wrote this poem at the back of a letter his father sent to him.

| Posted on 2010-04-30 | by a guest


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I like pancakes. I had them this morning for breakfast. Ilike to put syrup on my pancakes. I did that for breakfast this morning. I love myself. see ya bitches.

| Posted on 2010-02-28 | by a guest


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who knows and who cares!
SCHOOLS AND RULES ARE TOOLS FOR FOOLS!!!

| Posted on 2010-02-18 | by a guest


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langston hughes was awesome and my favorite color is green.
:)

| Posted on 2010-02-18 | by a guest


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Heritage
“The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” Hughes’ first published poem, introduces a theme which would recur in several other works throughout his career. Many critics have classified this group as the “heritage” poems. Amazingly, although it was composed very quickly when he was only seventeen, it is both polished and powerful. In fact, in Langston Hughes: An Introduction to the Poetry, Onwuchekwa Jemie labels it the most profound of this group.
The poem utilizes four of the world’s largest and most historically prominent rivers as a metaphor to present a view, almost a timeline in miniature, of the African-American experience throughout history. The opening lines of the poem introduce the ancient and powerful cultural history of Africa and West Asia, with the mention of the Euphrates and the dawn of time. Next the Congo, mother to Central Africa, lulls the speaker, to sleep. The world’s longest river, the powerful and complex Nile with its great pyramids, follows. Last, the poem moves to more recent times, with the introduction of the Mississippi. Even though the Mississippi and Congo both hold bitter connotations of the slave trade, each of the four has contributed to the depth of the speaker’s soul. The poem stresses triumph over adversity as the “muddy bosom” of the Mississippi turns golden.
The speaker clearly represents more than Langston Hughes, the individual. In fact, the “I” of the poem becomes even more than the embodiment of a racial identity. The poem describes, underlying that identity, an eternal spirit, existing before the dawn of time and present still in the twentieth century. The different sections of the poem emphasize this: the speaker actually functions on two levels. One is the human level. The first words of lines five through eight create a picture of the speaker’s ancestors: bathing, building, looking, hearing. However, the poem also discusses a spiritual level where the soul of the speaker has been and continues to be enriched by the spirit of the river, even before the creation of humanity. Thus, the second and third lines of the poem develop an eternal, or cosmic, dimension in the poem.
Wisdom and Strength
The poem’s cosmic dimension adds an additional theme making the poem more than a tribute to the heritage of the past. It honors the wisdom and strength which allowed African-Americans to survive and flourish in the face of all adversity, most particularly the last few centuries of slavery. Hughes associates this strength with the spirit of these rivers which Jemie describes in Langston Hughes: An Introduction to the Poetry as “transcendent essences so ancient as to appear timeless, predating human existence, longer than human memory.” Jemie continues by noting that as the black man drank of these essences, he became endowed with the strength, the power and the wisdom of the river spirit. Thus Hughes stresses the ancient cultural heritage of the African-American, the soul which existed even before the “dawns were young.” The poem then makes clear that through all of the centuries, the speaker — or in other words, the collective soul — has survived indomitable, like the rivers. The poem exalts the force of character, the wisdom and strength, which created this survival.
This tribute developed out of Hughes’ personal life. He describes the inspiration for the poem in his autobiography, The Big Sea. While he was crossing the Mississippi on a visit to his father, a man who baffled and frustrated Hughes because of his prejudice, he began “thinking about my father and his strange dislike of his own people.” Hughes contrasts this attitude with his own admiration for the “bravest people possible — the Negroes from the Southern ghettoes — facing tremendous odds.” The Mississippi suddenly seemed to be a graphic symbol of that bravery. He notes that being sold down the river literally meant being torn violently from one’s own family. Yet even after centuries of brutal inhumanity in bondage, the African-American spirit has emerged triumphant. This poem became Hughes’ tribute to the strength and the wisdom of his people.
Rivers
Rivers have been a powerful force throughout human history. Many early mythologies made the river — or the river god — a symbol of both life and death. It is easy to understand the reason for this since most of the great early civilizations grew up in river valleys. The Euphrates, which is the first of the rivers mentioned in the poem, helps to form Mesopotamia. Even today, world history textbooks refer to the area using the symbolic phrase, the cradle of civilization, because of the number of ancient kingdoms which flourished there: Ur, Sumer, Babylon. The Nile, too, played a central role in early civilization. It ensured Egyptian prosperity. Thus the river was worshipped as the god, Khnum, who made the earth fruitful. Central African tribes also believed in the powerful river spirits who were sources of life, wisdom, and purification. Even, today, Christian baptism, which originated when John the Baptist anointed Jesus Christ in the River Jordan, represents both a symbol of purification and the entrance to new life.
S. Okechukwu Mezu discusses the importance of rivers in both mythology and poetry in his study The Poetry of Leopold Sedar Senghor: “The river in most societies is considered a source of life, of new life in particular: a source of ablution and purification.” He then mentions several poets who absorb this view into their work, such as Hughes and Whitman, whose “personification of the river is not far removed from the anthropomorphism and pantheism that characterize certain elements in African traditional religion.”
I did NOT do the analysis, but I figured someone might need to read the above like I did.

| Posted on 2010-02-08 | by a guest


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what is this? i do not knowhahah a ahahhahahahah hdkjghakjhf dlskajhf sdkjn ,xncsdojfhxcvnkjahfn xczvl

| Posted on 2008-11-19 | by a guest




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