Tears of Ancestors

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The Tears of our Ancestors

Every journey of our ancestors circulates in our lives much like the blood in our veins, as would water to a river. However, it is impossible to improve ourselves if we do not identify the past that frames our future. It is by acknowledging these moments in our past that we transcend ourselves into a destination worthy of the golden light of mortality. It is thus, that I attempt within the following paragraphs to assess what is the impact of our legacies surviving us, and how our connections with our ancestors can be enriched with an example focusing on Langston Hughes poem “Negro Speaks of Rivers.” Throughout the experiences of hardship and oppression within my own family and their descendents I find that likewise, I can find a link to the inherent injustice of slavery that the writer attempted to convey within his poem.
As a reader I am compelled to be immersed into Langston Hughes poem of the rivers. When the rain falls into the earth, and is soaked, it provides the basis of life; our bodies are composed of 65% water, and Langston Hughes presents the symbolism of water as representative of the continued spirit of life; Hughes begins the poem speaking of how the rivers are, “ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.” Thus it seems apparent from Hughes perspective that human life appears temporary, whereas the water is everlasting, and is a continuation of that which is left behind. “My soul has grown deep like the rivers” allegorically emphasizes that his soul will become greater in depth, representing the accumulation of his ancestors' knowledge. If we were to use anthropology as a way to measure human development over a long course of time, for example, histo...

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...hrough the literary devices of the poem been given the opportunity to create text from what has been taken in. As the poem takes the reader on a journey throughout the continent of Africa, condensing and connecting his ancestors up to his contemporary era; his generation and several before him were still indelibly haunted by the injustices of slavery. So, perhaps Hughes had a sense that he needed to convey the memories of those generations of African Americans that had come and gone before him, in order to preserve their legacy for posterity. Otherwise, in the course of time, who would remember the legacy of slavery, if it wasn’t written to cultivate the tragedy and horror of it via the re-symbolism conveyed to objectively stir the reader to examine their own objections to the texts and why certain symbolism comes about in their first impressions of the text itself.

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