The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes

Posted: August 6th, 2013

Cover Letter




I am writing an analysis about “the Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes because of his exemplary skills in conveying messages even though the messages are hidden.

What is the writer implying in the poem? This was what is asked myself when I first read the poem. However, I found out several meanings in the text. From the title of the poem, the racial theme is evident while issues such as enslavement of the African Americans are also an emerging theme in the poem.


Form the poem it is evident of he might of the three rivers, which he describes, they are namely the Euphrates, the Nile and the Congo. These rivers, which have been described, are considered as among the greatest rivers in the world. Hence, he uses such to illustrate the might of the African race. In addition, the poem illustrates the pride of the African-Americans from what he terms as the transition of the Mississippi river in the line “and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.” This is a meaning of transition form slavery into freedom as a slave is considered of little worth into free individuals who possess the right to exercise equal liberties identical to their masters. It is known to many that a river is deep, mighty, and ancient and has seen many kingdoms as it meanders through countries to drain into the oceans. Hence, he seems to imply that the African race has seen all the wonders of the world since the world came into existence.

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