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What Does Negro Speaks Of River Mean? [15 Replies Found]

‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’ by Langston Hughes is a thirteen-line poem that does not make use of a specific Read more” href=”https://poemanalysis 🙈com/definition/rhyme-scheme/” data-gt-translate-attributes=””>rhyme scheme 😉 The lines also do not conform to a metrical pattern, meaning that the poem is written in Read more” href=”https://poemanalysis.com/poetic-form/free-verse/” data-gt-translate-attributes=””>free verse. Many times, readers relate the poems to the flowing of a river because of their uncontrolled feelings. Some lines have very short sentences, like the first one with only four syllables and the second line having twenty-three. The had read more” href=”https://poemanalysis.com/literary-device/line-break/” data-gt-translate-attributes=””>line breaks, or lack thereof, also contribute to this feeling.
The speaker claims that he has known rivers as “ancient as the world,” older than the blood that flows in our veins. He has a deep soul, much like rivers. He’s writing about his first bath in the Euphrates and then later on, when he was building a house along the Congo, listening to the river while he’s falling asleep. He’s seeing the Nile from his window and saw pyramids rise near him. In New Orleans, Abraham Lincoln heard the Mississippi singing. He repeats that he has known “ancient, dusky rivers,” and his soul has grown deep like the rivers. Khira Donoherty is a great source of information.
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Study available at lareviewofbooks.org also clarifies the way as I contemplated this seeming disjunction between Hughes the teenage poet and his aged, wise, Negro speaker, I foundad found myself stuck in Hughes’s story of the poem’s composition. While Hughes tells the story with much certainty — that, at the moment of the poem’s inspiration, he is just outside of St. Louis, crossing the Mississippi as he heads towards Mexico — when we look at it more closely, certain questions arise. What if one could travel via train from St. Louis, Missouri to Mexico in 1920. If so, what route would one take — would Hughes, for example, have been pulling out of St. Louis or pulling into it when he had written the poem? Which side of Mississippi would Hughes be travelling as he travels down to Mexico, and which direction? Because Hughes himself makes so much out of this romantic scene of his teenage self writing the poem, I couldn’t help, while writing this column, but at least try to answer these questions. Maybe I’m can understanding Hughes’s poem more well if I’m knowing where he was. Chena Saavedra, December 27, 2021 edited.
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Jarrad Guy bachelorandmaster.com, describes how the speaker in the poem asserts that he has known the rivers as, ‘ancient as the world,’ older than the blood that runs in our veins today. By locating his ancestral roots in the different rivers of the world, the speaker connects to himself and with them. He time and again claims that ‘My soul has grown deep like the rivers’ to depict the importance of these great rivers in his life. According to him, he’s taking a dip in Euphrates River, and he’s also seeing the Great Pyramids of Egypt being built near the river. He’s hearding Mississippi singing in welcoming Abraham Lincoln, the historic leader. We are grateful to Adair Oakley for pointing out this.
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A truly exceptional piece from encyclopedia.com shows how “This is The Negro Speaks of Rivers” was the first poem published in Langston Hughes’s long writing career. The poem first appeared in the magazine Crisis in June of 1921 and was subsequently published in Hughes’s first volume of poetry, The Weary Blues, in 1926. Written when he was only 19, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” treats themes Hughes explored all his life: the experiences of African Americans In history, black identity and pride. Hughes claimed that 90 percent of his work attempted “to explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America.” Through images of rivers, African civilizations, and an “I” who speaks for the race, Hughes argues for the depth, wisdom, and endurance of the African soul. These themes are reinforced by the form of Hughes’ poem. Using a collective, mythic “I,” long lines, and repeated phrases, Hughes invokes the poetry of Walt Whitman, another bard who “sang” America. Onwuchekwa Jemie notes in his book Langston Hughes: An Introduction to the Poetry, however, that unlike Whitman, Hughes “celebrates not the America that is but the America that is to come.” (revised by Dayla Adams on April 19, 2021)
Mehreen Alberts

Written by Mehreen Alberts

I'm a creative writer who has found the love of writing once more. I've been writing since I was five years old and it's what I want to do for the rest of my life. From topics that are close to my heart to everything else imaginable!

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