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The Negro Speaks of Rivers An Analysis Langston Hughes a poet in the early twentieth century is known for his poems about urban life and racial affirmation In the poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers Hughes tells a story of the black mans evolution to America The poem illustrates racial pride and dignity Hughes uses symbolism free verse and tone to create a clear picture of black history In the poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers Hughes uses the use of symbolism to convey the story of his people The poem must be critically analyzed to fully understand the essence of Hughes writing The use of the I throughout the poem refers to the black people as a hole not as an individual person The rivers are used as a metaphor for the source of life Hughes portrays the rivers with the Afro American culture have become one The poem traces the movement of black life from the Euphrates and Nile Rivers in Africa to the Mississippi The Euphrates symbolizes the original center of human civilization The Mississippi River is a symbol of black culture in America Hughes uses the word Congo to represent the center of Afro American culture I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it refers to the act of slavery Hughes uses the Abe Lincoln as a symbol of American slavery which was a transformation of slaves into free men The muddy river is his race of which he is born The muddy bosom is refereed to as a black mother which he rests secure forever The sunset represents Afro Americans freedom At the end of the poem Hughes writes My soul has grown deep like the rivers suggest the understanding beyond the memory of the suffering of slaves but a more deeply memory of freedom The poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers is written in an open form of poetry Hughes free verse is
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