Hughess The Negro Speaks of Rivers reflects his interest in the history and

Hughess the negro speaks of rivers reflects his

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Hughes's "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" reflects his interest in the history and social condition of the African American. The first two lines introduce the subject of the poem: “I’ve known rivers/ I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins” (1, 2). The primary image of water symbolically represents the history of humanity, acknowledging the fact that rivers are more ancient in the history of the earth. The middle section reveals the connections between the history of the African American and four important rivers of the world: the Euphrates, the Congo, the Nile, and the Mississippi: I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
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Dinh 5 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. (4-7). The three African rivers are a part of the ancient history of black people when they were free, living in majestic kingdoms and forming the great civilizations of Africa. The poem more specifically relates to the African American, who is the victim of slavery and discrimination in the New World. Lastly, Hughes ends his poem proudly: “I’ve known rivers:/ Ancient, dusky, rivers/ My soul has grown deep like the rivers.” (8-10) Rivers start out shallow, but over time the flow of the water erodes the river bed and they become deeper. His soul started out somewhat shallow but over time, the experience of life has made him a deeper person, with deeper feelings and a deeper understanding of people and life. Hughes shows his growing sophistication, knowledge of the history, and problems of Africa through this poem. Hughes' poetry and prose speaks for the African American in the 20th century. In some of his poems, he ends on a somewhat hopeful note, revealing his belief that African Americans and others will one day be free to pursue their dreams without segregation. His works bring hope and lead the way for African Americans to a brighter future.
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  • Fall '13
  • Johnsmith

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