The relevance of history to African Americans was one of the issues debated among participants in the Harlem Renaissance. The words written in this poem represent the pride and knowledge of a group of outstanding people. Just because these individuals or even these societies no longer exist, does not mean that they are dead. First, the speaker is diverging information about the river, then drifting into the actual rivers by the Euphrates, Congo, the Nile, and ultimately the Mississippi River. The second interpretation does not contradict the first, but puts events into sequence and deepens the poetry. What are they, and what do they do? I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
When Hughes wrote this poem in 1921, ideas and images ofprimitive, tribal cultures were very chic in American art andliterature. After Hughes visited Africa in 1923, he no longer viewed Africa as a mythic, exotic land where black identity was rooted, but instead as a land ravaged by Western imperialism, a symbol of lost roots. She has been a symbol of India's age-long culture and civilization, ever changing, ever flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga. The final line reaffirms the speaker's sense ofracial pride, of continuity with ancient, advanced civilizations,and of connection to life-giving, enduring forces in nature. In fact, in Langston Hughes: An Introduction to the Poetry, Onwuchekwa Jemie labels it the most profound of this group. Some promoted the image of the New Negro, one that left behind the ignorance and humiliation of slavery and reinvented himself.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. He has not done these things himself; he has done them through others. All the other people in the high school seem to detest her. Lines 11 - 13 The poem closes with the phrases that opened it. After Hughes visited Africa in 1923, he no longerviewed Africa as a mythic, exotic land where black identity wasrooted, but instead as a land ravaged by Western imperialism, asymbol of lost roots.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers. This period of the Roaring Twenties is said to have begun around the end of the war and lasted well until the Great Depression. These actions reinforce the notion from lines 1-3 that peoples of African descent have ancient spiritual and physical ties to nature. Simply said, the answer is through speech. Its muddy bosom connects it to the Negro mother who nurtured her babies despite the fact that they could be taken away from her at any time and despite the fact that some of their fathers were the white masters. In the Miseducation of the Negro he focused in on the problems of the education system for African Americans leading to the dire effects of plight of the Negro.
The poem's main focus is to describe the wealth in heritage that the African Americans have been able to accumulate. The speaker does not reflect Hughes as an individual, but rather his connection to a mythic and collective black soul. Throughout the poem Hughes uses metaphorical statements to suggest to the reader what the soul of the African American has been through. Line 8 personifies the river by giving it the human capacity to sing. It speaks of their importance in the world's civilizatio … ns and of their right to share a part of this legacy. When Hughes wrote this poem in 1921, ideas and images of primitive, tribal cultures were very chic in American art and literature. These ancient rivers in the poem are like veins and roots, because they provide the nurturing sustenance that supports life.
They left the South because of racial violence such as the Ku Klux Klan and economic discrimination not able to obtain work. In his later writing, Hughes steered awayfrom images of African primitivism, for he saw such depictions ofAfrican and African-American culture as impeding rather thanadvancing the cause of racial equality. Hughes wanted to give the reader the illusion 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. The connection of ancient civilizations living off rivers gives that sense of roots even further depth, and it is these roots that, to the speaker, give life meaning. As Abe Lincoln traveled down the Mississippi, he saw the oppression that the slaves were treated with. Last, the poem moves to more recent times, with the introduction of the Mississippi.
In general, ask yourself how you feel after having read the poem several times. Langston Hughes: Biographical Info My soul has grown deep like the rivers. People have equated rivers to the aspects of life - time, love, death, and every other indescribable quality which evokes human life. This is an image of home for many African Americans. In his later writing, Hughes steered away from images of African primitivism, for he saw such depictions of African and African-American culture as impeding rather than advancing the cause of racial equality. DuBois, Hughes grounds contemporary African-American culture in its regal culture of African history.
During this time in a movement known as the Great Migration, thousand of African Americans also known as Negros left their homes in the South and moved North toward the beach line of big cities in search of employment and a new beginning. Through this poem, Hughes suggests that African Americans are themselves a great poem, a masterful epic, more sweeping, more powerful than the mere two hundred years informing the poem that is America. Use a thesaurus if you have trouble thinking of words! He bathes in the water, builds his hut next toit, listens to its music as he falls asleep, and is consoled orinspired by the river when, as a slave in Egypt, he builds thegreat pyramids. He speaks individually and personally of a self divided, cut off from Africa by the forces of history. Lines 11 - 13 The poem closes with the phrases that opened it. When the speaker says that his soul is deep like the rivers, he is saying that because of this almost organic connection with the earth, he thrives and can understand.