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The Negro Speaks of Rivers Essay | Critical Essay #1

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Critical Essay #1

Wilson is a popular-culture writer. In the following excerpt, he discusses Langston Hughes's "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and casts a critical eye on its modern relevance as "a celebration of racial culture and history."

Langston Hughes wrote "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" when he was only seventeen. As a poem, it succeeds brilliantly in conveying mood and tone while offering glimpses of human existence in times past. As a celebration of racial culture and history, as it is often credited, the poem has problems—some specific to the language and imagery Hughes employs, and some endemic to any literature that purports to celebrate a certain race.

Since the purpose of the poem seems to be to evoke feelings of cultural connectedness and racial pride, the "historical snapshots" chosen by Hughes should be historically relevant. Unfortunately, if...

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This section contains 1,774 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Negro Speaks of Rivers Study Guide
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The Negro Speaks of Rivers from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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