Analysis Of The Negro Speaks Of Rivers By Langston Hughes

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A message from Hughes 4 Poems What defines a person? What makes them different from everyone else? For many people it is their personality that describes who they are. Back in the 20th century, people were separated by their skin color. It didn't matter if you were funny or boring, inspiring or just plain. People were known as blacks and as whites. Blacks did not amount to anything, they were secluded from everyone else. But in 1920 blacks were able to be taken seriously for their poetry. One man in particular, was Langston Hughes, he lived from 1902- 1967. He was known as the most successful African American writes. He wrote about what the world was like for an African American, from the eyes of an African American. In Hughes poems, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, I,Too, Dream Variations, and Refugee in America, he demonstrates how diverse an African American life can be. The Negro speaks of Rivers, expands on the idea that African Americans came from all over the place, they have many homes. They were told that they do not belong in America so they need to move back to Africa. But when they did go, they had been gone for too long, the culture and the people had changed from what they knew from old ancestors. Hughes states, “I’ve known rivers; Ancient, dusky rivers”(lines 8-9) Their past family members told them about what life used to be like, before America. These people only knew what was taught through songs or tales from their ancestors. In an article called Culture and Leisure, Lee says,”Slave culture finds its roots both in the ideas, beliefs, and customs brought from Africa” This is proof that Slaves only knew their culture from Africa, they were never able to learn any knowledge from America. Overall these slaves did not have the best of times, they did not know anything or understand anything, only what was told by grandma. I, Too, portrays how African Americans were not treated with respect. Hughes tells a story of an African American being sent to the kitchen because of his color. As the character goes with ease, he knows in his mind that someday he will be able to eat with them. He states,”I, too, am American.”(line 18) He should be treated like an American just like everyone else. People
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