The Negro Speaks of Rivers Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 16 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Negro Speaks of Rivers.
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Cultural Awareness

In "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," the narrator—never referred to by name, and therefore known only as "The Negro"—stands as a representative for all black people throughout history. By offering snapshots from several different periods of time, the narrator is expressing a personal awareness of and connection to his roots. Appreciation of this connection appears to be what allows the narrator's soul to grow deep.

The poem suggests that by remaining in touch with the heritage of one's ancestors, a person can achieve a certain degree of inner peace and wisdom. In the case of the narrator, the heritage is a centuries-long narrative of struggle in which the tide may finally be turning. The poem mentions Abraham Lincoln's trip to New Orleans, which according to legend, was when Lincoln resolved to end slavery. This reading is reinforced by the uplifting image of the...

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This section contains 569 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Negro Speaks of Rivers Study Guide
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