"The Negro Speaks Of Rivers" Essay

584 words - 2 pages

"The Negro Speaks of Rivers"
By Langston Hughes

"The Negro Speaks of Rivers", by Langston Hughes, is a compelling poem that goes deep into Hughes' soul. This poem is full of many themes, such as racial pride and relating to one's ancestors or roots, which in this case is all tied to rivers. But what do these rivers convey about the history of the African People?

"The Negro Speaks of River" speaks loudly of the creativity of black people who have in essence have a rich history beginning from the dawn of civilization. When Hughes wrote the second line of his poem, "I've known rivers as ancient as the world," he wanted to show the readers that the different Negro societies were present since the first days of early civilization. The word "river" was used to symbolize the paths of each society and their geographical locations in the world. Pay attention when Hughes mentioned the Euphrates, the Congo, the Nile, and the Mississippi. The names represent the different times in history and the geographical location of each society mentioned in the poem. For example, the Nile could be used as a metaphor for the ancient Egyptian empire. With all simplicity, the poem is a powerful message to the reader as well as a summary of the history of the Negro.

What makes this poem interesting to read? Simplification was the key to the poem's appeal. It contributed to the appeal of the title and the message the author wanted to convey to his readers. Hughes used his words and ideas carefully to elaborate his poem, but the way he simplified thousands of years of history in only ten lines of poetry was the most...

Find Another Essay On "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"

Theme of Sacrifice Leading to Transformation Illustrated in Hughes' 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' and 'The Secret of the Sea'

906 words - 4 pages sailors it might be an opportunity to develop themselves. While “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” connects the spirit and history of the African/African-American community, and the poem, “The Secret of the Sea,” expresses the strengths and potential of the hearts of sailors, and in both of poems they illustrate that sacrifice can lead to transformation. “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” by Langston Hughes has many symbolic meanings about the name of

The History of the Negro Leagues

1468 words - 6 pages described, whose talent never got noticed. By the time my essay in over, you will be able to name several Negro League Hall of Famers!Back in 1899 you couldn't find one black in the Major Leagues. Every owner agreed with no Negroes in the league, so therefore they were banned from baseball. There was many young, talented, black ball players back then who needed a place to play. The effect was the first all Negro baseball team. They were called the

The Historical Significance of Negro Baseball Leagues

1147 words - 5 pages Negro baseball leagues have a deep historical significance. Racism and “Jim Crow” laws encouraged segregation of African-Americans and whites. Arguably, the players on the negro baseball leagues were some of the best ever. Even today they are still being recognized and honored for their wonderful contribution to baseball as a whole. It started when major league owners had made a “gentleman’s agreement” to keep blacks from playing in the game

The Inflence of Rivers and Climate on Baghdad, Iraq

1117 words - 4 pages The Inflence of Rivers and Climate on Baghdad, Iraq The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, along with their reaction to the climate, have both helped and hurt Baghdad, Iraq. The rivers provided pathways to other civilizations, allowing Baghdad to grow into the transportation and cultural center of Iraq. Its fertile soil, deposited by flooding, provided the area with the ability to become the birthplace of civilization through tremendous

The Importance of the Negro Bank in Invisible Man

766 words - 3 pages      The early Americana coin bank which the narrator of Invisible Man discovers one morning in his room at Mary's house is a reflection of the narrator's state throughout much of the novel. The offensively exaggerated Negro figure provokes an instant hatred in the narrator due to the tolerance it suggests. However, the narrator becomes personally offended by the object because of the similarities it holds to himself. While smashing the pipes

God Speaks Through The Mouths Of Poets

1875 words - 8 pages God Speaks Through The Mouths Of Poets Every poem has an element of God in it's words. Just as God spoke through the writings of Peter or Matthew, elements of His word are in the beautiful themes in poetry. In this essay, I will compare the poems of William Blake and William Wordsworth with the written Word of God, in five poems: The Lamb, The Chimney Sweeper, The Tyger, My Heart Leaps Up, and London 1802. My aim is to show that the

Rivers of Sawdust: The Battle Over Industrial Pollution in Canada, 1865-1903

908 words - 4 pages An issue arose in Eastern Canada between 1865 and 1903 in which Peter Gillis focused on the views of certain environmentalists, lumbermen and the government as well as the public’s opinions on the matter throughout the years. Gillis stressed the damage caused by dumping sawdust into rivers and lakes regularly – mainly the Ottawa River. Water-powered sawmills, which were designed to allow waste to drop through the floorboards into the water

Lost in Love: A Comparison of "At the Pitt-Rivers" to "Araby"

796 words - 3 pages things. As a matter of fact I've been in love twice myself" (25 - "At the Pitt-Rivers"). The first time was with a girl from his class at school and the later time was with a girl who came to stay with her sister, who lived around the corner from him. He was convinced that he was knowledgeable and experienced on the subject of love. However, his romanticized and idealized views of love are far from the truth. According to him, "you fancy people your

Analysis of Frederick Douglass, The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro

1286 words - 5 pages truism no one seems to able to realize this statement from beyond the bounds of one’s self and reach out to approach the Other. The concept of the Other is dominant in Frederick Douglass’s text “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”, for it determines the main conflict and illuminates the issue of intolerance and even blasphemy regarding the attitude of white Americans towards Negroes. The text was written as a speech to commemorate the

Analysis of White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro by Winthrop D. Jordan

1181 words - 5 pages Analysis of White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro by Winthrop D. Jordan Winthrop D. Jordan author of White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro 1550-1812, expresses two main arguments in explaining why Slavery became an institution. He also focuses attention on the initial discovery of Africans by English. How theories on why Africans had darker complexions and on the peculiarly savage behavior they exhibited

Frederick Douglas and John Brown- History of the American Negro Slavery

718 words - 3 pages Frederick Douglas and John Brown discuss methods of abolishing American Negro slavery. Brown was an antislavery leader while Douglas was an ex-slave and he internationally recognized antislavery teaching himself to read and write. Even though they differed on tactics to be used, they were together in leading American Negro slaves to freedom. Although Douglas became very impressed with John Brown with his radical Abolitionist, to end

Similar Essays

Perseverance In Mother To Son And The Negro Speaks Of Rivers By Langston Hughes

975 words - 4 pages The founding fathers constructed the Constitution with the notion that “all men were created equal.” However, many minorities still struggle for the same rights and opportunities as others. “Mother to Son” and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” are poems written by Langston Hughes that use symbolism to exemplify the struggles of African Americans as they attempt to persevere through adversity. Hughes utilizes the stairs in “Mother to Son” and the

Symbolic Imagery In Langston Hughes' Poems, The Negro Speaks Of Rivers And Mother To Son

1787 words - 7 pages Symbolic Imagery in Langston Hughes' Poems, The Negro Speaks of Rivers and Mother To Son Langston Hughes uses symbolism throughout his poetry. In the poems 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' and 'Mother To Son', Langston Hughes uses symbolism to convey his meaning of the poems to the readers. Readers may make many interpretations about the symbols used throughout these poems. Throughout the poem 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' Hughes

Sound And Sense In Langston Hughes' The Negro Speaks Of Rivers

1460 words - 6 pages Sound and Sense in Langston Hughes' The Negro Speaks of Rivers   The text of the poem can be found at the bottom of this page.          In Langston Hughes' poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," Hughes makes use of some interesting poetic techniques. This poem is written in free verse, and seems, at first glance, to be very unstructured. Hughes repeats words and lines, but does not make use of repeated sounds. Hughes' rivers are very rich in

Symbolism And Allusion In Langston Hughes' The Negro Speaks Of Rivers

740 words - 3 pages Symbolism and Allusion in Langston Hughes' The Negro Speaks of Rivers In Langston Hughes' poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", he examines some of the roles that blacks have played throughout history. Ultimately, the poem asserts that in every one of these aspects the black people have been exploited and made to suffer, mostly at the hands of white people. The poem is written entirely in first person, so there is a very personal tone, even