Unformatted text preview: Chief Works In a burst of youthful genius, Hughes wrote "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" when he was only 20 years old, at the height of Marcus Garvey's "Back to Africa" movement. It mimics Sandburg in its omnipresent first-person speaker. The persistent parallel observations — for example, "I bathed," "I built," "I looked," "I heard" — survey Asian, African, and North American scenes over millennia as though a single long-lived observer relished the beauties of each. Rich with a distilled wisdom, the poem turns on an image in lines 2 and 3 that merges flowing waters with the human circulatory system. The muddy depths are the primal source of rebirth, both for the speaker and the budding poet. Without naming the hardships of the black race, Hughes epitomizes the speaker's peaceful, life- affirming experiences as a parallel of the sun's daily cycle. Life as a black has benefited the speaker, affirming experiences as a parallel of the sun's daily cycle....
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This note was uploaded on 11/23/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.
- Fall '08