A Slaves Soul Runs Deep Essay example

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A Slaves Soul Runs Deep A Slave’s Soul Runs Deep

The poem ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’ by Langston Hughes is about a man with a vast knowledge and understanding of rivers. The first two sentences of the poem are similar, as in both Hughes states, ‘I’ve known rivers’. From this the reader gathers that this man has been around rivers and probably lived around rivers. He talks about different experiences he has had on four different rivers. For example he says, ‘I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young’ and this gives the impression that he was around long ago when the river was just starting to form. Another quote, ‘I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans’ shows a passage of time from
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This suggests a seriousness to his poetry which would be fitting to my interpretation of his poem.

While trying to interpret Hughes’ poem, I found that the explication process worked best. I periodically went through the entire poem focusing on perhaps one line and what that meant, and then moving to a different line. I continued this process until I had enough of it solved to unravel the whole. I chose this approach because it worked well with the poem. The poem seemed to read like a story and this made it easy to interpret one line, and then to pick up and move to a different line.

I would start explaining my interpretation of Hughes’ poem by saying that it is full of metaphors and similes. In several places Hughes refers to the rivers as being old. In line two he uses the word ‘ancient’ to describe them and again in line twelve. I originally thought that the rivers represented time but I now believe that they represent the speaker’s soul. My interpretation of this poem is a narrative sprinkled with similes that repeatedly make this comparison of the rivers and the speaker’s soul. The narrative begins when the speaker says that he ‘bathed in the Euphrates river when dawns were young’. This could represent his birth or a time when he was young or young at heart. Bathing is often associated with baptism and this usually occurs at birth. Next he comments, ‘I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep’. I believe this could be a memory
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