• anonymous
Can anyone break down the poem 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' by Langston Hughes for me? Like explain what he's trying to say or express in the poem?
  • chestercat
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  • anonymous
It helps to have context, although the poem is quite lovely on its own. Langston Hughes was born in 1902. He wrote this poem in 1921, or at least, it was published then. Life was difficult for blacks then. They lived in a shadow world, apart from the mainstream, impoverished, working generally only in occupations of servitude, the victim of random violence and hate crime. It was a miserable time. This poem sounds to me like Hughes reclaiming his color and his heritage, lifting up the image of "black" from the gutter where it had been thrown and was being trampled on, and reimbuing it with honor and dignity. Giving a people who had been enslaved and then indentured something to look back upon with pride, something to build forward from. But that's my take. As with any good poetry, there are many ways to slice into it, many ways to appreciate it. In looking up his dates (to get them right for you), I stumbled across this link -- I've not listend to it yet, though I'm about to. You might like to do that as well.
  • anonymous
Well, he doesn't say to much by way of analysis, but it's still worth a listen. Don't take what I had to say about it as the be-all and end-all of the poem's reach or meaning. There's a lot you could say about this poem.

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