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Langston Hughes - Negro Speaks of Rivers

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Langston Hughes starts this poem off with a very strong statement: “I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.” This is telling you that he has been around along time and has seen many things. He also seemed to be comparing the flow of the river of that with the blood flowing throughout the human body’s veins. In some way he is trying to get you to make the connection between river’s and blood maybe trying to state that his veins are old like the rivers. Hughes also uses repetition in this poem to stick it in your head. He uses “My soul has grown deep like the rivers” to imprint your mind that the poem is about rivers and how he is comparing himself to them. This caught my attention because it made it easier to read and it helped me understand that he has comparing himself with the rivers. When you read this poem you get a dusky setting from it. Hughes never really talks about a bright shinning day with the rivers flowing; he talks about some of the oldest and well known rivers in the world. He takes these and says he’s been at the begging of each one.

Hughes takes you through history in a way with this poem. He mentions the Euphrates, Congo, Nile, and Mississippi all in his poem. They all played a significant part of history throughout the past and they are all located in different parts of the world. I think that Hughes is also trying to tell us that he has traveled the world and seen many things. Rivers are usually classified as strong and powerful usually having a civilization close by too. The Euphrates is located in the Middle East and Hughes uses it in his poem because some of the first civilizations were on this river and he says he bathed in it when the

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