What viewpoint does Hughes use in "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"?  

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sensei918 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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"The Negro Speaks of Rivers" is one of Langston Hughes's most famous poems. He uses first-person point of view of a Negro person (it is never stated whether the narrator is male or female) in this poem; but, remember, the poet him/herself and the narrator are not necessarily the same person. Hughes's narrator represents the African race, a timeless, first person perspective through which the narrator is identifying with the rivers of the world and the connection of his race with those rivers. Hughes wants to demonstrate that his people are a vital part of history and that they carry the memories of that history in their souls just as the rivers carry people from other cultures across the world.