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Langston Hughes Essay Research Paper Triple P

Langston Hughes Essay, Research Paper Triple P s Extra Credit The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes is an amazing epic poem showing the depth of a person s soul. It actually gave me the chills while reading it. It is

Langston Hughes Essay, Research Paper

Triple P s Extra Credit

The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes is an amazing epic poem

showing the depth of a person s soul. It actually gave me the chills while reading it. It is

an intimate and personal piece. When I looked up the history of Hughes I felt even more

inspired. He was an African American man who was born in Mississippi in 1902. He

wrote this poem while he was a senior in High School. That is amazing! He became

involved in many racial issues fighting for his culture. The Negro Speaks of Rivers is

just one example of how tremendous of a man Langston Hughes really was. This poem

has deep historical and racial meaning.

The poem is written in first person, by Langston Hughes. Although I do not think

he is only speaking of himself, but on behalf of all African Americans. I think that he is

referring to his race and all of its generations. He is speaking to a general audience. I can

imagine that he is a handsome dark skinned man, wandering around lonely, just

searching for answers. The tone of the poem is very quiet and solemn. It does not change

throughout. The speaker does not change either. The language of the poem really makes

it interesting. For example, this poem relies on a lot of repetition. The three words in the

first line, I ve known rivers: appears throughout the poem three times. Also the third

line, My soul has grown deep like the rivers repeats as the last line of the poem.

Secondly, word choice is also important. For example, I’ve known rivers: Ancient, dusky

rivers.” The “ancient dusky rivers” can be referring to one of many things. “Dusky”

meaning dark can refer to the color of the African people’s skin. “Dusky” having more of

a grim connotation can refer to the past of African-Americans in a white society. Finally,

“dusky” meaning unclear could refer to the future of African-Americans in this society.

Metaphors are also used. For example, As ancient as the world and older than the flow

of human blood in human veins. Throughout the poem Hughes is comparing himself

and his soul to the river. The meter of the poem is dactylic. The first syllabol is stressed

followed by two unstressed. The style of the poem is free flowing. There is no rhyme

pattern.

The poem brought many images to mind. I pictured a man walking around a

beautiful river. Also I saw many people in the river using it to bathe and cook. The poem

made me feel sad, ashamed, and inspired. It made me think about how the world once

was and how much society has changed. When I interpreted the poem I found that

Hughes picks a river of signaificance in that particular time period. Beginning with the

Euphrates river through the Mississippi river in that particular time period. The reference

to the Congo River and hut probably refers to African tribes from long ago, some of

which may still exist. The pyramids and Nile River reference is probably that of the

African people working as slaves to build the pyramids for the Egyptian Pharaohs.

Finally, the reference to Abe Lincoln and the Mississippi River deals with the Civil War

and the struggle for freedom of the slaves in the Southern United States. Lincoln’s

determination to end slavery was said to have started when, as a young man, he visited

New Orleans for the first time. This is the narrative of hard times African Americans

dealt with.

This entire poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” by Langston Hughes really

impressed me. I felt as though I was really getting a chance to peek into a tiny part of the

speaker’s soul and could see just how deep it ran. Hughes goes on and on about the rivers

of the world and how they are so vast and deep. Hughes is indirectly expressing how deep

and vast his soul has become throughout his life, a life filled with turmoil and suffering,

even though he probably has not been able to travel the world, as the rivers do.

Associating his soul to the rivers is like letting his soul flow free, like the rivers.

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