The poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” speaks on tradition and experience: “Thematically the poem speaks of conne...
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... hardships of making it to the top “It’s had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet floor---Bare.” Hughes uses these to show the reader that the mother has had her hardships but she has not given up. The mother in the poem discussing with her son how he cannot give up just as she has not portrays realism because it shows how Hughes was more than likely told by his grandmother who raised him or by his mother that he could not give on life just as they had not; Hughes then uses another metaphor: “Don’t you set down on the steps ‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.” Meaning not give up now because it will be harder to get back up and keep going. This symbolizes realism in a way that the mother is acts on the idea the son has to give up, instead she tells him that he’d better not give up “set down on the steps” and to keep striving.
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