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An Analysis of The Negro Speaks of Rivers Essay

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The 1920s and 1930s were the years of the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance. This period of the Roaring Twenties is said to have begun around the end of the war and lasted well until the Great Depression. Partially due to the migration of more and more African Americans into the north of the United States, the national literature, arts and music movement developed into something, until then, completely new and literary modernism spread further (Perkins and Perkins 212). The 1920s were a time of immense change, with women becoming eligible to vote, alcoholic beverages become prohibited to sell, and later on the crash of the stock market (Perkins and Perkins). With modernism and the invention of new things like the television, Americans…show more content…
One of his earliest poems, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, was written in 1921, long before Hughes would actually travel the world. However, without knowing the authors background and history, one might think it was written by a wise man of old age. Having only lived in various places in the United States, Hughes wrote this poem of an African American man who has seen the world, full with things many people never get to see, that nourished his soul and formed bonds with humans' deepest roots. The four rivers the narrator is mentioning, the Euphrates, the Congo river, the Nile and the Mississippi river, are all of great importance not only in the lives of all human beings, but slaves in particular. The Euphrates is said to be the longest river in Southwest Asia as well as the world's oldest river overall. As mentioned in the poem, the Euphrates is “ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins” (Hughes 222), at least figuratively speaking since the Euphrates is approximately 450.000 years old (Muhesen 95-105). This ancient river has been a place of human settlement since the very beginning, and its water has made life possible for those who settled down close to it. In a way, this
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