Negro Speaks of Rivers Analysis

Topics: Abraham Lincoln, African American, Langston Hughes, Mississippi River, Allusion, I Have a Dream / Pages: 2 (261 words) / Published: Dec 20th, 2013
The Negro Speaks Of Rivers Proud to have endured some of the most powerful challenges mankind has ever witnessed, he Negro spirit has grown through time with its people. In Langston Hughes’s poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” the speaker uses devices such as anaphora and allusion to convey pride in the Negro spirit. The anaphora present in the poem is seen in phrases such as, “I bathed,” (4) “I built,” (5) “I looked,” (6) and “I heard” (7). Each of these phrases has a declarative feeling, in which the speaker is strongly affirming that he, himself, has performed the actions. They dictate events in history, which give the Negro spirit its sense of valiance and pride. When the speaker proclaims, “I looked upon the Congo and raised the pyramids above it,” (6) he is alluding to his ancestors’ past experiences as slaves. In which they lived in harsh conditions, and performed demanding tasks such as building the pyramids. After this, the Negro spirit reminisces a time when Abraham Lincoln sailed down the Mississippi by recalling, “I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset” (7). With the use of this allusion, the spirit mentions how the hard work throughout history has paid off, and that it is something to be proud of. The spirit has “[known] ancient dusky rivers,” (9) in which African ancestors have lived as slaves, been mistreated and had to earn their freedom. The Negro spirit is proud of his honorable acts, in which he rose from deep within the “dusky rivers” (9) and climbed his way to a golden sunset.

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