South University Online
July 31, 2013
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
* 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.
My first impression about the poem itself was that the author wrote about different memories and life changing events captured during slavery. All the things seen and emotions they had during this time of history. Surprisingly Hughes wrote about different Negro societies and presence in history.
Poem Title: Words/ Phrases
| My emotions
Singing of the Mississippi
| Joy, happiness
| this means new freedom achieved for slaves
| Flow of human blood
| Death, life red, alive
| How slaves survived through so much
| Soul has grown deep like the rivers
| Love, joyful happiness, awareness
| You realize what you been through and deal with it to make a better life for yourself
| Dirty, complicated, muddy
| Mud, fertility and emotion
| Building, runs along ways, beliefs
| Rich, civilization, among famous rivers
“The Negro Speaks of Rivers”
The Symbols in “The Negro speaks of Rivers” which was written by Langston Hughes in 1920 show that Hughes used his words and ideas carefully to elaborate his poem, but the way he simplified thousands of years of history. He also uses names to represent different times in history and the geographical location of each society mentioned in the poem. “I’ve known rivers as...
References: The world we share
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