The Essence of Langston Hughes's The Negro Speaks of Rivers

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Black men have soul. Not just the physical soul that everyone possesses, but this culture or essence that they portray. Whether it’s the jazz music that they create, or the food that is made, the soul of black man is unlike any other. It is like a relentless entity that keeps going no matter what it endures, or the hardships it faces. It has also been around since the beginning of society. The Harlem Renaissance was the first movement in the United States that depicted the soul that black men had and still have. With an emphasis in African culture, the Harlem Renaissance proved to be one of the most prolific times for black men, especially in the arts, literature, and music. The works from the Harlem Renaissance has this unique soulful charisma that blacks seem to perfect. In his poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, author, Langston Hughes takes on the persona of a universal black man, meaning he speaks for all of them, and this is demonstrated by his use of history, political stance, and the concept of soul. Born in 1902, Langston Hughes had inquired several problems growing up. Between his parents divorcing when he just a young boy, and his father leaving the country shortly after, Hughes had a rough start at a ripe age. He never really had a stable household, as he had lived with several people because of his mother relocating, including his grandmother, over the years. Langston Hughes’s father, who resided in Mexico because of the racial issues in the States, was known to have a dislike toward his own kind. In an effort to fund college after completing grade school, Hughes went down to visit his father in Mexico for financial purposes. While on his way to Mexico, Hughes wrote “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, after reflecting on t... ... middle of paper ... ...civilized black soul, to one in captivity in the States. Langston Hughes shapes history because of his contributions to black literature, and his involvement in the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes speaks for generations of black men in the poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” Works Cited “Abraham Lincoln in Indiana." National Parks Service. National Parks Service, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2013. Dworkin, Ira. "“Near The Congo”: Langston Hughes And The Geopolitics Of Internationalist Poetry." American Literary History 24.4 (2012): 631-657. Humanities International Complete. Web. 11 Dec. 2013. Hughes, Langston. "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2013. Rummel, Jack. Langston Hughes. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. Print. Socarides, Alexandra. ""The Negro Speaks of Rivers" by Langston Hughes." N.p., 1 Aug. 2013. Web. 07 Dec. 2013.

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