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Primitiveness, Equality, Exposure And Acceptance In The Negro Speaks Of Rivers By Langston Hughes

The Negro Speaks Of Rivers by Langston Hughes has remained one of the very complex poems to explain, inspite of the complexity, this post will examine few of its themes; primitiveness, equality, exposure and acceptance.

One of the ways poets make reference to history is through the use of symbolism. Hughes made reference to his primitive being by relating himself with "rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins". He made mention of Euphrates, Congo, Nile, Mississippi which are very ancient as he claimed.

Langston Hughes believed that all human are equal because all share similar qualities with the rivers mentioned in the sense that rivers flow endless as blood in human veins. Such assertion supports that black people and the white people are equal.

Based on the view that wisemen are men who have sailed beyond their neighborhoods, the poet used the channel of his poem to expressed how experienced and exposed he was. He compared himself with the great Abe Lincoln; claiming that when Lincoln embarked on his 1828 voyuage to New Orleans, he was as well enjoying the experience in Mississippi.

Acceptance is also part of the themes of the poem. The poem showed that acceptance is natural and should not be found missing in every human relationship irrespective of their origin.
"I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young
I buit my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it."


Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)

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