The Negro Speaks of Rivers Questions and Answers

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

The speaker shows that his soul has grown deep like rivers when he recounts the experiences that connect him to his heritage. According to the eNotes Study Guide, the author, Langston Hughes, was...

Latest answer posted March 28, 2019, 6:17 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

In this poem, Hughes establishes the strength of African Americans by creating a connection to the history that unites them. Rivers often symbolize a flow of experience or a source of life, and...

Latest answer posted May 16, 2020, 2:53 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

The primary use of symbolism in this poem is the symbolism of the rivers. The speaker, who represents African Americans, connects his history, and thus the history of African Americans, to the...

Latest answer posted November 17, 2019, 10:54 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

The mood of the poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" is dignified and wise. Langston Hughes establishes a connection between the ancient rivers of the past, which birthed civilization, to the...

Latest answer posted March 15, 2018, 5:58 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Langston Hughes was a Black author, and he constructs this poem from the viewpoint of the Black experience, which is key to understanding how rivers are used throughout the poem. Note that the...

Latest answer posted March 17, 2021, 10:48 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Langston Hughes’ poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” names four rivers: The Euphrates, The Congo, The Nile, and The Mississippi. In the poem, rivers are used to convey racial memory across millennia...

Latest answer posted June 5, 2019, 9:39 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

The Euphrates River is the longest in western Asia and is commonly referred to as the "cradle of civilization." Hughes links himself to this history of a young world when there were few people...

Latest answer posted July 26, 2019, 12:55 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Langston Hughes’ beautiful poem about the journeys that African-Americans have taken uses a metaphor to describe how the river, as a source of travel, is like “the flow of human blood in human...

Latest answer posted February 15, 2016, 5:36 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

“The Negro Speaks of Rivers” is narrated in the first person by a speaker who insistently claims knowledge of and association with “rivers ancient as the world.” In the central stanza, he refers to...

Latest answer posted December 12, 2019, 6:18 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Hughes employs a first-person narrator who uses the pronoun "I" to discuss his or her experiences; however, this narrator appears not to be a single person but, rather, a symbol that represents all...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2018, 1:57 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Much critical analysis of Hughes' poem lies in how there is a fusion of history and the experience of the individual. Hughes does an exemplary job of being able to link together the essence of...

Latest answer posted December 13, 2010, 7:28 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

As a preface to his poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," Langston Hughes wrote, I had been in to dinner early that afternoon on the train. Now it was just sunset, and we crossed the Mississippi...

Latest answer posted July 6, 2010, 11:58 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

The speaker uses specific examples of his Black cultural ancestry in this poem, tying himself to both his distant and near cultural heritage. He emphasizes this sense of oneness and identity by...

Latest answer posted July 28, 2021, 3:42 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

These lines are part of the poem's essence. The idea of an individual, a Black individual, being a part of the world historical stage so as to be able to "know rivers ancient as the world," helps...

Latest answer posted March 27, 2010, 10:57 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

I agree with what the previous poster says, but I would encourage you to begin answering your question by defining the word "tone" for your own purposes. "Tone" is not the same as "theme," for...

Latest answer posted October 26, 2009, 6:38 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

In comparing Langston Hughes' poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," and Claude McKay's poem, "If We Must Die," the difference of the mood of the two poems is what strikes me most. McKay is...

Latest answer posted June 9, 2011, 7:02 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

It is said that the idea for this poem came to Hughes when he crossed the Mississippi River on his way to visit his father.As an African American, the Mississippi would have been more than just a...

Latest answer posted March 7, 2008, 10:37 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

In the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, an interesting character is illustrated in the social studies/MISS teacher Mr. Neck. Mr. Neck is one of the first people to speak to Melinda on opening...

Latest answer posted February 5, 2016, 6:52 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Langston Hughes's poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" has a universal setting. In the poem, the narrator travels through time and space. The poem begins in the Euphrates, which was, along with the...

Latest answer posted July 16, 2018, 2:22 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

The answer to this question is, of course, a matter of personal opinion. My own view is that such a goal is not nearly as necessary today as it was in 1920 when Langston Hughes wrote this poem....

Latest answer posted October 13, 2013, 11:36 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Written by Langston Hughes while on a train as he gazed out the window of the Pullman and saw the mighty Mississippi River, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" is a poem whose theme is the role of rivers...

Latest answer posted April 19, 2013, 6:53 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

In "The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” the speaker uses several perspectives and tenses. Although they consistently speak in the first person, the speaker is not simply an individual but more generally...

Latest answer posted April 7, 2021, 6:07 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

In his poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," Langston Hughes juxtaposes diction related to ancient times with images of youth and vitality. His purpose is to show that though the African race is...

Latest answer posted September 25, 2015, 3:52 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Both Langston Hughes's “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and Jimmy Santiago Baca's “Cloudy Day” focus on an element of nature as their primary imagery. Hughes uses rivers, exploring the way his people...

Latest answer posted February 26, 2021, 2:13 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

epollock's comments are very good, especially the opening focus on "human" history, not only African American history. This poem really interests me because it seems at once both racially specific...

Latest answer posted November 14, 2010, 10:34 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

I am assuming that you are talking about "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" by Langston Hughes. If so, then I think he chooses the four rivers for their significance. Their significances also shows in...

Latest answer posted February 28, 2010, 8:06 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

A great question. The rivers work in several ways. Each of these reinforce the other, which is something you would want in a superior literary work. First, look at the specific rivers named. Hughes...

Latest answer posted September 25, 2015, 3:05 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

These are two very good poems to discuss together. I hadn't seen the connections before and appreciate your question. The speaker in Hughes' poem may be male, and the subject in Angelou's poem...

Latest answer posted November 2, 2009, 8:37 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

I agree with the two previous posters and want to add a few more details about what there might be to appreciate in the Langston Hughes' poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." The speaker is...

Latest answer posted January 9, 2010, 11:10 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

In "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," Langston Hughes writes of rivers. Rivers are a life source and have existed throughout history. So shall the black man or woman exist throughout history. The first...

Latest answer posted July 24, 2011, 8:04 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Langston Hughes' poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," and Claude McKay's "If We Must Die" seem to have completely different themes and goals to me. McKay's poem clearly speaks of choosing an...

Latest answer posted June 9, 2011, 4:45 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

What makes Langston Hughes' expression unique in his poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," is his reliance on the metaphor comparing the black race to rivers, which he is saying are both ancient,...

Latest answer posted June 9, 2011, 11:49 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

One significant difference between the imagery and language in Langston Hughes' "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and Alain Locke's essay "The New Negro" is seen with respect to content and theme. For...

Latest answer posted October 3, 2013, 10:56 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

These images of rivers form a kind of collective memory for African Americans. In dreaming of the rivers of their ancestral homeland, they are transported back in time to the very dawn of...

Latest answer posted August 29, 2019, 11:42 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Langston Hughes has said of the poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" that: Many of my poems have been about the history of the Negro people. In this poem, 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers', I try to link,...

Latest answer posted August 31, 2010, 12:40 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Hughes, in this famous poem, gives us snapshots of history, but perhaps his most significant point is to show the interrelation of the specific history of people of color with the general history...

Latest answer posted September 27, 2019, 5:14 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Simply put, I am not sure the concept and idea of the poem works as well if it is written in paragraph form. I don't think that Hughes is trying to construct an essay, or some type of expository...

Latest answer posted November 25, 2011, 12:09 am (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Like the poem, the answer to this question is a complex one. The poem succeeds in its attempt to have American society acknowledge African- Americans as owners of a culture given to the nation....

Latest answer posted October 13, 2013, 11:22 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

The previous post was accurate in that the unusual viewpoint is not clear to us for the unit was not thoroughly explained. This is where you would have to contrast the viewpoint in both Brooks'...

Latest answer posted February 2, 2010, 7:48 pm (UTC)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

The "I" of the poem is the "Negro" referenced in the poem's title. He is literally a person who is talking about rivers. He does not seem to be one particular black man but, rather, a sort of...

Latest answer posted July 26, 2019, 9:40 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

The reason this poem is so extraordinary is the way Hughes compresses so much humanity and such a sweep of time into just thirteen lines. Before we even read the poem, the title gives us some...

Latest answer posted June 23, 2020, 2:03 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

In addition to "solemn strength," one could also say that there is pride—pride in the "Negro's" resilience and permanence. Hughes's narrator makes his or her experience as a black person central to...

Latest answer posted June 16, 2017, 10:40 am (UTC)

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